FEARS are growing that Bournemouth could go bust if the club have to pay back huge sums in TV money and sponsorship.
The Cherries have been on of the hardest hit Premier League clubs financially amid the coronavirus crisis and are struggling to cope with their income drying up.
Prem clubs and stars received widespread criticism for failing to cough up proportionate contributions given their mega-rich bank balances as coronavirus ravages society.
Liverpool and Tottenham have been roundly criticised for relying on the taxpayer for help with furloughed non-footballing staff despite their multi-million profits.
But Bournemouth are in a different financial league to the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea, and have been left vulnerable with little income amid the coronavirus shutdown.
According to The Mirror the talk in Premier League circles, and on the regular conference calls, is of the difficulty facing the Cherries – who have a small stadium, a big wage bill and rely heavily on broadcasting rights.
The longer the Premier League is suspended, the greater Bournemouth will have to rely on their Russian owner, Maxim Demin – whose wealth was reported to be £100m at the weekend with sources suggesting that figure was a conservative estimate.
Demin reportedly remains hugely supportive while there is no TV money coming in during this crisis.
And the Cherries are certain to be one of the clubs hoping players agree to pay cuts or deferrals, as manager Eddie Howe has already done.
Howe, 42, became the first top flight figure to take a wage cut and voluntarily agreed to give up a “significant” chunk of his £4million-a-year pay packet during this uncertain time.
His assistant Jason Tindall, technical director Richard Hughes and Cherries chief exec Neill Blake also followed suit.
The club hasn’t been too hard hit by not filling its modest Vitality Stadium with just a 11,300 capacity.
But what is a big concern is the prospect of having to pay back TV money and sponsorship deals if the season is not completed. The 20 Premier League clubs could collectively be responsible for £762m.
The amount will differ from club to club depending on how much they would have earned from live games being screened, with Liverpool possibly having to return £60m.
But even a £30m bill could have a devastating impact on the south coast club.
The Cherries have put more than 50 staff on furlough but insist they have only done so with staff who cannot do their jobs while games are on hold – areas such as hospitality, player protection and entertainment.
Bournemouth are also topping up pay of those being placed on the furlough scheme.
Last week, Burnley chairman Mike Garlick warned they will go bust in August if the football lockdown has not ended by then.
The Clarets boss revealed they stand to lose £50million if the current season is cancelled — and warned other Premier League clubs face losses of as much as £100m.