Manchester United make £3.3m financial loss

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Manchester United have felt the financial effects of the coronavirus crisis, with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward vowing to navigate them through “one of the most extraordinary and testing periods” in the club’s history.

Woodward last month conceded United are not “immune” to the financial ramifications of the ongoing pandemic, although said the club can remain “highly competitive” in the upcoming summer transfer window.

Fewer games have been played in the third financial quarter of 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis, with United making less money from broadcasting and matchday revenues.

“Manchester United is a resilient club and a resilient company,” Woodward said. “We’re well-positioned, both operationally and financially, to navigate this global crisis and we very much look forward to returning to play and building upon the strong on-pitch momentum we experienced up to mid-March when we stopped.”

Woodward also said the board “remain firmly optimistic about the long-term prospects [both on and off the field] once we have worked our way through what is undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary and testing periods in the 142-year history of Manchester United”.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team last played 10 weeks ago, when they thrashed LASK in a Europa League last-16 clash forced behind closed doors due to Covid-19 measures in Austria.

The Premier League was suspended the following day and that has taken its toll on the balance sheet, with United no longer predicting the revenues of up to £580m forecast in the second quarter of fiscal 2020.

Instead, United said in their third quarter result they were withdrawing their previous guidance “given ongoing uncertainty due to COVID-19 and the evolving related economic and financial consequences”.

United recorded an overall loss of £3.3m between January 1 to March 31, which was primarily down to the 51.7 per cent decrease in broadcast revenue.

At £26m compared to £53.8m the previous year, United said that was “primarily due to an estimated £15m Premier League rebate due to broadcasters, following delay and broadcast schedule changes to the 2019/20 football season, non-participation in the UEFA Champions League, and the impact of playing two fewer Premier League away games”.

United expect to pay a £20m rebate to broadcasters this year, with the £15m reduction mentioned in the results reflecting the 29 games played to-date.

Revenue has dropped 18.7 per cent over the prior year quarter to £123.7m as debt rose 42.2 per cent to £429.1m, but Woodward believes United are well placed to bounce back.

 

“Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our colleagues, fans and partners around the world and we are extremely proud of how those connected to the club have responded during this crisis,” Woodward added.

“Since the start of the pandemic, Manchester United and our Foundation have provided assistance to hospitals, charities and schools in our communities, as well as support for frontline workers and vulnerable fans.

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