French Football Looks For New Government Funding

12 October 2020 | Finance & Regulation
French Football Looks For New Government Funding
With the new French football season underway, the ramifications of the campaign before are still being felt and with supporters not yet entering stadia at maximum capacity, a substantial burden has been placed on the finances of the clubs who operate within its league structure. A burden that without some form of outside assistance, shows no signs of abating anytime soon and with this pertinent threat looming large, a collective plea has been delivered to the nation’s government.

A collective that has seen the French League (LFP) and the French Football Federation (FFF) reportedly ask for €215m in the way of COVID-19 financial aid, in a bid to make up the shortfall in revenues for both club and country.

While nearly 90% of the requested figure has been earmarked for the losses in both league ticketing and hospitality revenue – a sum that is made up of a projected €125m from the former and €67m regarding the latter.

A loss of that kind would be a bitter blow at any point, although when you account for the fact that this is just for the second half of this year, it further highlights how stark the situation is within French football at present.

A situation that is also not helped by a lack of fandom surrounding France’s international matches or an empty house for last season’s Coupe De France final and because of this, the FFF believe their overall shortfall would be €23m.

In a period where the Ligue 1 television deal has had to be renegotiated due to the curtailment of last season, every single cent is being counted and with a previous government loan already being awarded, there is a fear this new plea will fall on deaf ears.

Which means President Emmanuel Macron and his cohorts will find themselves in something of a bind, because when you compare the current state to the seven months ago and the fact that there was no football whatsoever, the fact there is now competition should be reason to be cheerful.

However, with activity comes cost and it is these costs that now have to be covered by the teams who perform weekly in France’s top two divisions and the running of the national team, as they hope to win next year’s UEFA European Championship.

Even though the overall picture looks rather bleak at present, there are some individual success stories and although Olympique Lyonnais are currently in the black, there is a sense that things could have been a whole lot better.

Last season’s Champions League semi-finalists have recently recorded a €49.5m annual profit and although that may give club president Jean-Michel Aulas reason to be cheerful, his mood will be tempered somewhat.

Because even though the accounts point to profit, this has come around via player sales of €90m and the greater belief is that the cessation in activity and the costs that are connected to it, have generated a shortfall of €100m.

Then again, the 71-year-old Aulas and everyone connected with the club will be viewed as the lucky ones, as Olympique Lyonnais are one of the few outfits who possess the ability to offload players at substantial prices each summer.

Which means for the rest of their Ligue 1 counterparts, the picture is far more gloomy at present and with coronavirus gripping this and a number of European nations once more, the clouds are not necessarily set to break anytime soon.

With that said, all is not lost and now the LFP and FFF will have to hope that their government can magic up some more money for the show to go on. A show that needs to be assessed, as to how much value it can bring to a country that has faced an incredibly difficult past seven months.

 

Written by Dan Tracey

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