Barcelona won’t hit €1bn revenue target due to COVID-19, confirms president

Barcelona won’t hit €1bn revenue target due to COVID-19, confirms president
Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has admitted that the Spanish soccer champions will fail to reach their €1.05 billion (US$1.15 billion) revenue target for the 2019/20 season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The revelation, reported by Forbes, comes after Bartomeu had stated last September that the club would pass the billion euro mark for the first time over the course of the campaign, which would have represented the highest annual revenues of any club in football.

But the impact of the global COVID-19 health crisis has prompted mass cancellations across the sporting calendar, with Spain’s top-flight LaLiga, as well as all professional football competitions in the country, suspended indefinitely.

With no return date in sight, and the knock-on economic effect this has had, Barca are already feeling the pinch, with Bartomeu confirming the initially forecasted record revenues will not be achieved.

“We are the club with the greatest revenue in the world, but it’s true that we won’t be able to reach the €1.05bn that we had budgeted for,” Bartomeu said, adding that Barca were on “record pace in February, well above our expectations” until the coronavirus pandemic took effect.

“We have no income from ticket sales, TV rights, hospitality, stores, the museum...,” Bartomeu continued. “It’s a very significant decrease in revenue and we are trying to compensate it with the reduction of salaries of athletes and employees, including executives, and with other ways of reducing costs and projects that can be put on hold.

“We will change models and the way we do things. We will have to adapt and be a pioneer.”

Part of those measures include a 70 per cent pay cut for players, with a further two per cent from their salaries going towards helping pay non-playing staff in full. Bartomeu has also told Barcelona-based newspaper Sport that this will help the club “save €14 million from football and two million from the other teams”.

The 57-year-old was also quick to quell fears Barca would suffer financially in the long term as a result of the coronavirus disruption, saying that while the club will feel the impact “more than others” they will “be quicker to get back on track”.

He also expects “many more” European clubs to enforce pay cuts on players. So far, German giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, as well as Italian champions Juventus, among others, have all introduced wage reductions. 

Bartomeu also gave his thoughts on when he believes Spanish football will resume. Currently, the likes of the Premier League are slated to resume later this month, but further postponements are likely. This looks even more inevitable after UEFA, European football’s governing body, suspended its Champions League and Europa League competitions until further notice, as well as all national team games in June.

One proposal to complete domestic seasons is to play games behind closed doors, but Bartomeu is resistant to such measures.

“The scenario we're working on now is to play games before 30th June and for competitions to finish in July or August,” he said. "We don't have a problem with that. What we don't want is games behind closed doors or every 48 hours. 

“They will have to force us. We want to play with fans.”

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