COVID causes Spurs’ coffers to run bone-dry


Tottenham Hotspur financial statement Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

On Monday morning, English professional football club Tottenham Hotspur (UK) released its financial statement for the financial year ending June 30, 2020. And the numbers painted a grim picture almost ringing the fiscal alarm bells caused due to the COVID-19 menace.

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, commonly referred to as Tottenham or Spurs, is an English professional football club in Tottenham, London (UK), which competes in the Premier League, the top level of the English football league system.

The bleak financial scenario has been driven by a combination of several factors – clubs refunding a total of £330m in total revenue to television broadcasters, reduced European prize money after missing the Champions League and, of course, the main reason is the COVID-19 pandemic which has again struck back with full force in the United Kingdom leading to a second national lockdown and has kept fans out of football stadia since March. All these factors have attributed for Tottenham reporting a loss of £63.9m this past fiscal year. That’s in comparison to a gain of £68.6m the year prior.

A statement on Spurs’ website quoted their Chairman Daniel Levy as stating that the pandemic has bled white Tottenham considering the fact that they had just mortgaged their financial future with a brand new facility financed mostly by public debt and dependent on fans regularly attending events. With fans being kept out of venues due to the continuous COVID-19 thump, Levy warned that if things continue as they are now, the club is heading to an “irrecoverable” £150m loss in the coming fiscal year.

The statement further quoted Levy as stating that, “We are currently in the midst of one of the most challenging times ever experienced. The impact of the pandemic on our revenue is material and could not have come at a worst time, having just completed a £1.2bn stadium build which is financed by club resources and long-term debt. The 2020-21 seasons has so far seen no fans at games and this is compounded by a loss of third party events such as the National Football League (NFL), concerts, the closure of stores and visitor attractions. Our estimate for the current financial year of the potential loss of revenue, should the stadium remain closed to fans, is in excess of £150m. Clearly this would be an irrecoverable loss of income.”

In his statement, Levy made a strong pitch for the return of supporters to football venues when allowed by the Government. Spurs have been quite vocal about the safe return of football fans, and Levy has spent the past few months not only making the case for fans in stadia but also that Tottenham’s new arena is one of the best options to have supporters back watching live football in England.

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is the new home of Tottenham Hotspur in North London, replacing the club’s previous residence, White Hart Lane. With a seating capacity of 62,303, it is the third-largest stadium in England and the largest club stadium in London.

Levy added, “Each and every Premier League club makes a significant financial and social contribution to the UK economy and to their local communities as well as being a great British export often showcased by Government departments for trade and culture visits. We have spent the past months preparing our stadium, testing our digital ticketing process and registering ID validation for fans. Premier League clubs are entirely capable, similar to the experience in several other countries, of responsibly delivering outdoor events with social distancing, exemplary hygiene standards, qualified stewards, testing capabilities and diverse travel plans, operating in some of the most technologically advanced venues in the world. We recognize that health and safety are paramount and we have been encouraged by the latest news on vaccine developments and potential clinical passports.”

Clinical passports are an app-based system that looks at all symptoms and other COVID-19 contributing factors as well as other measures.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that the Spurs showed a small increase in matchday, commercial, and catering revenue from the prior fiscal year, due to the opening of their new venue ground – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. If the COVID dust finally settles down, the Spurs are sure to bounce back with total verve.

The Spurs are not alone in their financial struggle. It is for sure that if not all, majority of Premier League clubs’ coffers have dried up and they will be reporting similarly grim numbers in their financials for this past year all due to the COVID curse.

Levy’s statement also noted the club’s volunteerism of the stadium and infrastructure to aid the National Health System (NHS) this past Spring when coronavirus bared its fangs the world over in the first wave – “However, whilst we have been unable to open our stadium to fans, we have opened it to the NHS. Over 41,000 antenatal appointments have been held in our stadium by the North Middlesex Hospital Outpatients Department as we sought to assist with creating more space to treat patients in the hospital itself and provide a safer environment for outpatients. We opened our basement for COVID-19 testing and this still continues.”

Levy concluded by stating, “We are also working to support over 4,000 direct and indirect jobs together with the wider community who depend on us in an area of significant deprivation.”

The top shot official said that he was keeping his fingers crossed on return of fans at the earliest possible to the stadia fold.

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