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Spanish FC budgets get blasted by billion Euro Covid bills

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Spanish clubs lose €2B in revenue due to ongoing pandemic. AFP

Spanish FC budgets get blasted by billion Euro Covid bills

Spanish clubs in the top two divisions suffered a loss of earnings totalling €2.013 billion ($2.43 billion) for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a league report published on Tuesday.

“Despite the two billion less in revenues, which is huge, the clubs, and above all the big clubs, have been able to cope,” said La Liga chief Javier Tebas of the figures calculated after the close of the January transfer window.

For the 2019-20 campaign, clubs reported earnings of €4.8 billion, €366 million less than the €5.167 billion forecast, according to a report by global auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers.

For the current season, it estimates a shortfall of €1.647 billion based on the €5.269 billion initially expected, representing a loss of 31 percent for Spain’s top two divisions.

However, clubs have reduced costs over the past two seasons by €984 million, resulting in a net loss of €1.03 billion that will be absorbed over the upcoming seasons.

“This debt will be paid off over the course of the next three to five seasons, so the impact of Covid-19 will be made up for at a rate of €150-250 million per season,” said La Liga managing director Jose Guerra.

“There are problems paying wages in other leagues. In Italy, in France and in the Premier League, several clubs have asked for state aid, us no,” said Tebas, who predicted it would take two seasons for club revenues to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, the considerable dip in revenues caused by the absence of supporters, has prompted the league to order Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to trim their budgets by around €35 million.

Real Madrid have the largest salary limit, with the reigning champions’ budget rising from €468.5 to 473.3 million as a result of profits made on transfers and their on-pitch success.

Barca saw their budget cut from €382.7 million to €347 million. Last season, the club spent €391.6 million on first-team wages.

Atletico will have to make savings of €35.4 million to meet their revised budget of €217.3 million.

The salary limits are calculated in line with revenues and are used by La Liga to help regulate the finances of the 42 clubs in Spain’s first and second tiers.

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