PREMIER LEAGUE clubs lost revenue for the first time in HISTORY as the pandemic bites.
Income across the 20 top-flight clubs fell by £700MILLION in 2019-20, down from £4.5billion the previous campaign.
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And with the impact of a full season in front of empty stands to come, it seems likely that the real impact of Covid will be felt in the accounts for last term.
The latest calculations by football finance experts Deloitte are no surprise after the past 15 months, since the world went into lockdown in March 2020.
But Premier League clubs were able to restart and finish the fractured campaign last summer — before playing out a full league fixtures list this term.
With revenues down and wages up — by just three per cent to £3.3bn — the wages to revenue ratio across the 20 top-flight clubs rose to a record high of 72 per cent.
And the aggregate pre-tax loss across all the clubs stood at £1bn, the worst figures in the history of the competition.
Prem chief exec Richard Masters has predicted the overall cost of the pandemic to the league will be in the region of £2bn once the full figures are calculated.
Although hopes are high of significant and potentially full crowds returning from next term.
Tottenham and Manchester United have both missed out on income of £6m per home match.
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And Deloitte’s Dan Jones explained: “The pandemic will continue to have a heavy impact on the 2020/21 season’s financial results when available.
“The absence of fans, postponement of matches and rebates to broadcasters had a significant impact on revenue clubs have been able to generate.
“Nonetheless, whilst this has been the most challenging period for all concerned in the football industry, Premier League clubs showed impressive resilience in mitigating the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“By completing the 2019/20 season in full, live football provided a great boost to the public and valuable content for broadcasters.”
Jones’ colleague Tim Bridge admitted that it would be wrong to draw direct lessons on wages from what was a unique set of circumstances.
He said: “In fact, wages across the league increased by just 3 per cent — the lowest percentage increase in wages since the 2004/05 season.
“In this extraordinary year, it is difficult to read too much into whether this marks a shift in clubs’ approach to wage spending.
“Or if it is down to one-off elements, such as the absence of end-of-season bonuses, deferred to the next financial year, or the impact of temporary wage cuts or deferrals.
“We will watch to see if this financial shock will come to be seen as having caused a change in approach and greater control over wage expenditure.”
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