Overall, the Club reported an 11% reduction in revenues (£478.4m); primarily caused by revenue delays relating to just under a quarter of Premier League matches and the latter stages of the UCL and FA Cup. Additionally significant revenues from player sales, such as Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich, were also delayed by the pandemic and do not appear in the 2019-20 accounts. Ticket and all stadium related sales ceased, season cards were refunded, and broadcasting revenues were reduced following rebates given by the Premier League to broadcasters. At the same time the Club continued to meet its full financial commitments, in addition to providing support to staff and the local community.
The result of these extraordinary pandemic factors is a reported net loss of £126.0m for the 2019-20 season. However, the club expects to immediately return to profitability in 2020-21, as a result of a less COVID impacted season and deferred 2019-20 revenues. The likely normalised losses for each of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons will therefore be less than £60m per year.
In the report, Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak observes that “[we have] a business that is fundamentally strong, with committed shareholders and with significant assets, built carefully over a decade and upon more than a century of history.” Highlighting “income streams [that] have been deliberately shifted and diversified,” the Chairman continues, “our long-term approach has meant that we are now not wholly dependent on income streams that have been most vulnerable to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.”
Of the unusual financial year, CEO Ferran Soriano said: “Clearly, the 2019-20 accounts in isolation are not the best representation of the reality of the season with delayed player trading and numerous games being played after 30th June 2020, the revenues from which will be accounted in the 2020-21 period. A better financial picture of the COVID years will be provided at the end of the 2020-21 season, when the two seasons are combined and normalised.”
The Club stepped up in many ways this year, and the report also details its approach to COVID-19 response and recovery across the entire business, including the significant support for fans, local schools and services and as a provider of valuable infrastructure for the NHS as it battled the pandemic.
To access the annual report click here.