ECA News

The COVID-19 crisis has had a destabilising financial impact on many industries, including football. At ECA, we have conducted an analysis on the financial footprint the pandemic has left on European football clubs.

The results demonstrate that the financial impact of COVID-19 on European clubs, as far as we can see now, is already a seismic shock, even with most competitions up and running again.

Now is the time to build common and widespread understanding across all stakeholders of the economic drivers and pressure points of football clubs, so that in working together on recovery we can also take the opportunity to build more sustainability. This is imperative as we are still living with COVID-19 and, if nothing else, we have learned that being flexible and prepared for unpredictability is part of our future. 

Clubs and those that represent them must continue to develop mitigating measures (cost, regulatory) and to adapt them over time to maintain economic balance and ensure viability. Managing cost and cash will be key until revenues have stabilised once more.

The upcoming transfer market will give us the next indication of economic motivation and the state of football’s health, but time should also be taken now to examine more fundamental operating cost structures – for example, costs of enterprise, people, systems and technologies, stadium. Cost-cutting is always a delicate exercise – care is needed to avoid long term reversal of many aspects of professionalisation that have been built up in football clubs over the past decade or more.

The financial impact does not stop when the game resumes. Rather, it will continue into the next season and we must take measures to create a more sustainable football industry in the long run.

You can view the key findings from our analysis of the financial impact on European clubs.

Charlie Marshall