The financial impact of halting City’s Premier League season

Norwich City's club doctor Nick Wilford has urged people to follow governmental advice over this Eas

Norwich City's club doctor Nick Wilford has urged people to follow governmental advice over this Easter weekend. Picture: Adam Davy/PA - Credit: PA

The financial cost of Norwich City’s Premier League season being halted by the coronavirus shutdown could reach £1bn, according to the Premier League’s chief executive Richard Masters.

Canaries’ sporting director Stuart Webber admitted there were further difficult days ahead recently when he addressed the potential impact on the Canaries in the aftermath of City opting to furlough some non-playing members of staff.

Discussions have already started inside Carrow Road on how to mitigate anything up to a £15m deficit in lost matchday revenue, ticket sales and the knock on effects to existing commercial deals should the campaign not return.

Top flight rivals Burnley released a statement at the weekend mapping out a £50m shortfall for the Clarets, which included factoring in the additional loss of broadcast and merit payments if Premier League football does not resume.

Now Premier League chief executive Masters has underlined the scale of the financial impact on the elite end of the game while Football Association chairman Greg Clarke has warned there is a real danger of ‘losing clubs and leagues’.

As sporting bodies across the world scramble to get a grip on the evolving situation, talks continue between top-flight clubs and players about a 30 per cent pay cut made up of conditional reductions and deferral of salary.

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Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor says its members will ‘play their part’ but no agreement has been struck at a time when the issue of pay has become a hot topic given some top-flight clubs have furloughed employees.

Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, has now called for a windfall tax on Premier League clubs if the government’s job retention scheme is utilised without a pay cut or deferral for players, leading to a strong response from chief executive Masters.

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“We face a £1bn loss, at least, if we fail to complete season 2019/20, and further losses going forward if the seriousness of the pandemic deepens and extends into the future,” said Masters, according to the Press Association.

Masters’ letter emerged after Clarke said everyone must ‘step up and share the pain’ inflicted on football in an FA Council meeting on Tuesday.

“Football faces economic challenges beyond the wildest imagination of those who run it,” he said. “The pandemic will be followed by its economic consequences and all business sectors will suffer.

“We face the danger of losing clubs and leagues as finances collapse. Many communities could lose the clubs at their heart with little chance of resurrection.

“In the face of this unprecedented adversity, all the stakeholders within the game from players, fans, clubs, owners and administrators need to step up and share the pain to keep the game alive.”

Professional football in England is suspended indefinitely and a return date being kept under constant review.

World governing body FIFA announced on Tuesday measures designed to extend players’ contracts and establish a transfer window based around any new calendar.

A statement read: “It is now obvious that the current season will not end when people thought it would.

“Therefore, it is proposed that contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end.

“A similar principle applies to contracts due to begin when the new season starts, meaning the entry into force of such contracts is delayed until the next season actually does start.

“It is also necessary to adjust the normal regulatory position to the new factual circumstances.

“Accordingly, Fifa will be flexible and allow the relevant transfer windows to be moved so they fall between the end of the old season and the start of the new season.”

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