Coronavirus Outbreak: Manchester United benches 2020 forecast as COVID-19 puts football on hold

Manchester United on Thursday abandoned its annual financial targets and reported a second consecutive drop in quarterly core earnings and revenue after the coronavirus brought the Premier League to a halt.

Reuters May 21, 2020 18:59:39 IST
Coronavirus Outbreak: Manchester United benches 2020 forecast as COVID-19 puts football on hold

Manchester United on Thursday abandoned its annual financial targets and reported a second consecutive drop in quarterly core earnings and revenue after the coronavirus brought the Premier League to a halt.

Soccer fans around the world have been deprived of live action for two months with most professional leagues suspended to try to contain the spread of the virus.

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Representational image. AP

Premier League clubs have scrambled to save cash, with some forced to furlough staff. Players are now back in training with the hope that matches can take place behind closed doors from next month.

“Operationally, the impact of the pandemic and measures to prevent further spread continue to disrupt... businesses in a number of ways, most significantly in broadcasting and match day operations,” the company said in a statement.

United, who are in “rebuild” mode as they chase a return to the lucrative UEFA Champions League competition, saw broadcasting revenue more than halve in the third quarter ended 31 March, while matchday revenue fell 8 percent.

As a result, total revenue slid 19 percent to 123.7 million pounds ($151.3 million), while core profit tumbled 32 percent to 27.9 million pounds.

Net debt ballooned by more than 127 million pounds to 429 million pounds and the club, controlled by the American Glazer family, made a net loss of 22.8 million pounds once the cost of financing that burden were taken into account.

United have not played since they beat LASK Linz 5-0 in a Europa League round of 16 first leg in Austria on 12 March, a match played behind closed doors. Their last match at their Old Trafford home was a 2-0 win over local rivals Manchester City in the Premier League on 8 March.

United were in fifth place in the 20-team Premier League when the action was halted.

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