Liverpool's Mohamed Salah
Liverpool are left stranded agonisingly close to the title as the start of English Premier League looks a long shot now. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: The top football leagues in Europe are set to lose huge amounts of revenue with the suspension of matches due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Studies conducted at different times by research bodies such as KPMG and LearnBonds have pegged the financial hit to the major European football leagues with combined losses reaching up to €4.1 billion (Dhs 16.2 billion), or more, according to data released.

While calculating the losses, the accounting firms have computed the total potential matchday, broadcasting and commercial revenues set to be generated by the remaining matches across the five leagues - Premier league, La Liga, German Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1.

The study suggests that England’s Premier League would lose the most - as much as 1.28 billion euros, should the season be halted - with a potential 800 million euros of that in broadcasting revenue alone.

The EPL broadcasting revenue losses would be the highest - despite having fewer games left to play than every other league apart from the Bundesliga, which has the lowest number of teams at 18.

The survey further states that Spain’s La Liga could lose as much as one billion euro from broadcasters while Serie A clubs stand to lose up to 700 million euros from a cancelled season. The Bundesliga and Ligue 1 stand to lose as much as 790 and 400 million euros, respectively. In addition, the players’ transfer loss may well go past the €3 billion mark.

The governing body Uefa suspended the Champions League and Europa League with 40 matches still to be played. A similar decision was made for the Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs, with the finals being moved from this summer to next year.

The last two decades have witnessed an incredible growth of revenue of European football clubs, driven by a surge in broadcast rights values for both domestic and international competitions. Some clubs have been able to increase revenue at multiples of their respective countries’ GDP growth, staying immune to broader market conditions.

Besides causing severe financial loss to the football leagues in Europe, the coronavirus lockdown will also cut revenues at some of the leading clubs in Europe.

By the end of the 2018-2019 season, the top 20 clubs had generated a combined revenue of €9.3 billion, or 11 per cent more compared to the previous season as per the Deloitte Football Money League 2020, with player transfers making a significant contribution to that amount.

However, with some players’ contracts running out at the end of the season and still no decision about continuing the matches, many transfers will be either held up, re-negotiated or totally called off.

If no further matches are to be played this season and no contracts extended past the end of June, EPL side Manchester City stands to lose €412 million of player transfer value. FC Barcelona ranks second on this list with a €366 million potential loss while European champions Liverpool, Real Madrid and Paris St-Germain will follow with €353 million, €350 million and €302 million losses, respectively.

Statistics also indicate that in this situation, 10 of the most-affected European football clubs will stand to lose over €3 billion of their players’ transfer value.

Projected losses

Top five European Leagues

English Premier League: €1.28 billion

Spanish La Liga: €970 million

German Bundesliga: €790 million

Italian Serie A: €700 million

French Ligue 1: €400 million