'Every single contract will be reviewed' Brighton plan drastic changes as Premier League face £1bn loss

Brighton chief executive and deputy chairman Paul BarberBrighton chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber
Brighton chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber
Brighton and Hove Albion chief executive Paul Barber insists the club will review each and every contract as they face up to the harsh financial realities following the coronavirus pandemic.

Premier League clubs are set for a loss of £1billion in revenue in their 2019-20 accounts due to the coronavirus pandemic, financial services firm Deloitte has predicted.

Deloitte says the top-flight sides will face a permanent loss of £500million made up of rebates to broadcasters and the loss of matchday revenue from the suspension of competition, but that a further £500m missing off the 2019-20 balance sheets will be deferred and recouped in 2020-21 if the competition is able to complete this season and next.

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Brighton had already budgeted to run at a loss for this season but the suspension of the league and loss of matchday revenue will increase that figure by 50-60 per cent

Albion’s chief executive and deputy chairman said: “Initially, it will up to the leagues and the FA to look at what happened and where in the future we can perhaps make that ecosystem a little bit more robust in places.

“But I don’t think anybody could have foreseen this.

“In the same way as every other business leader is currently assessing their industries and saying maybe, with the benefit of incredible foresight, we could have envisioned this happening at some point, we need to learn how we can do things better and what we can do to make ourselves more resilient in the future.

“These are not going to be answers that are going to come overnight.

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“There is going to be a lot of reviewing and certainly from our own club’s perspective, we are now looking at every single contract that we have got and reviewing how we can make that contract more robust and resilient for situations like this.

“I am sure that everyone – our suppliers and the organisations we work with – are doing the same.

“We are all in a phase, hopefully, where we are starting a very slow process of reviewing before we can start looking at how we can start making things better.”

Clubs are forecast to earn around half of what they normally would in matchday revenue in the 2020-21 season, with that estimate of £350m set to be lost if supporters cannot return to stadiums at any stage in the season.

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The grim picture comes against the backdrop of clubs posting record revenues for 2018-19, with the Premier League combined revenues topping £5billion for the first time.

Dan Jones, the head of Deloitte's sports business group, anticipates that around two-thirds of the £500m loss will be rebates to broadcasters, with the remaining third related to matchday revenue.

He said: "We expect the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to cause significant revenue reduction and operating losses across European football in the current season's financial results.

"Clubs are having to weather multiple financial impacts, including rebates or deferrals of commercial and broadcast incomes, as well as the loss of match day income and other event-related revenue.

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"Football returning - in a safe and sensible way - is clearly important to limiting the financial impact that the pandemic has had."

Jones said clubs could expect to receive half - at best - of what they would normally gain from matchday revenue in 2020-21.

"Exactly how that half comes to pass is open to a lot of speculation by a lot of people at the moment but it's an estimate of where we think we might get to," he added.

"That assumes some form of phased opening over time but hopefully by the end of next season being back to having full stadia again.

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"For 18-19 for the full year we had £680m of Premier League matchday revenue. For 20-21 we have assumed £350m. So if you allow for a bit of inflation you'd be thinking £700m or thereabouts would have been the right number, so we have gone for £350m as an estimate."

Deloitte found that Europe's 'big five' leagues - England's Premier League, French Ligue 1, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and Spain's LaLiga - generated a record £15bn revenue in 2018-19, a nine per cent increase on the previous year.

The EFL - in all divisions - posted record revenues in 2018-19 although Championship clubs' pursuit of the fortunes on offer in the Premier League saw them record a wage-to-turnover ratio of 107 per cent.

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