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Manchester United Suffer £70m Loss Because Of Covid-19

By Ibrahim Taiwo, The Nigerian Voice Sports
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Manchester United suffered a £70m drop in expected revenue in the period to 30 June 2020 as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The figures in United's 2019-20 financial statement includes the period when English football shut down.

United's overall revenue was down 18.8% from £627.1m to £509m, but part of this was due to the club not qualifying for last season's Champions League.

In last year's statement, United had estimated revenues could reach £580m.

Net debt more than doubled from the previous year to £474.1m.

The club spent around £75m in the summer transfer window.

United made a net £18.9m profit in 2018-19 and a net £23.2m loss in the most recent financial year.

It was also confirmed within the results United had paid out £23.23m in share dividends over the course of the year, although future payments are under review.

English football was halted in March in response to the pandemic and since the restart in June has been played without fans.

Speaking on Wednesday's conference call with investors, United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward urged the UK government to follow examples around Europe in allowing fans back "as soon as it is safe to do so" and said the "inconsistencies" in the rules were "frustrating".

"If people are allowed to sit in a plane for hours, or in the cinema, or even watch football in a cinema why not outside in a stadium environment which is professionally managed and controlled." said Woodward.

He also confirmed the club played an "active role" in plans know as Project Big Picture, which was rejected by Premier League clubs last week, while he distanced United from reports of the creation of a new European Premier League.

On Tuesday, talks were reported to have taken place over the creation of a new £4.6bn European Premier League, involving the top sides from across the continent.

"Saw reports. Don't know where it came from," added Woodward.

"There will always be intense debate around any changes to the structure of football, just as there was before the formation of the Premier League 28 years ago," added Woodward.

"Now, at this critical juncture for the game, we must ensure that the huge success of the Premier League is reinforced while ensuring that the wider football pyramid continues to thrive in a rapidly changing media environment. Achieving this will require strategic vision and leadership.

"We are pleased that the Premier League has committed to work together on a plan for the future structures and financing of English football.

Now it must deliver on that promise, and we are committed to playing a leading role in pushing that process towards a successful outcome."

All areas of United's income have been affected but broadcasting revenues were especially badly hit, reducing 41.9% from £240.2m to £141.2m.

The club also confirmed net finance costs had increased by £3.5m to £26m.

However, officials have stressed that despite the enormous rise in United's debt, up 132.9% to £474.1m, this was due to a reduction in cash reserves and the principal debt remains unchanged.

United has also announced a six-month extension to their shirt sponsorship deal with Chevrolet, which is now due to expire on 31 December 2021. (BBC)