ECA's Agnelli: Clubs face financial 'existential threat'
The European Club Association, the body which represents 246 soccer teams across the continent, has warned that clubs under its watch face an "existential threat", caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting postponement of matches.
Domestic leagues, as well as pan-European competitions such as the prestigious Uefa Champions League, have in the last month been postponed indefinitely, and Andrea Agnelli, president of Italian giants Juventus and also chairman of the ECA, has said in an open letter to member clubs: “We are… responsible for the well-being and sustainability of the clubs we manage, which are faced with a real existential threat.”
The letter, seen by Reuters, continues: “As football is now at a standstill, so are our revenue flows on which we are dependent to pay our players, staff and other operating costs.”
Agnelli (pictured) added that Uefa, European soccer’s governing body, was considering all possible concerns when “defining a possible new model for the calendar”, and that these strategies were also being worked on by the ECA, along with ways “to help manage club financials in this time of social and economic crisis.”
Agnelli also said in the letter that Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations, introduced in 2011 with the intention of ensuring long-term financial stability for clubs by reducing their dependence on any specific owner, were being looked at, in light of the anticipated financial difficulties.
He said: “Discussions are very active as to what the approach to the Uefa licensing and FFP framework should be in light of the current crisis.”
Clubs and leagues across the continent are currently grappling with the issues of implementing pay cuts due to the lack of revenue.
In Spain, high-profile clubs such as Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have applied temporary pay cuts for players, while several teams in Germany’s Bundesliga, including defending champions Bayern Munich, have also indicated their willingness to cut wages in the short-term.
Meanwhile, Germany's four Champions League representatives - Bayern, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen, are contributing €20 million ($21.9 million) to a solidarity fund to relieve clubs in the country's top two divisions that are struggling financially.
It was announced yesterday they will be foregoing the €12.5 million they were jointly entitled to from this season's centralised Uefa pot, plus a further €7.5 million from their own coffers.