Barcelona have confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic has cost them around €300 million so far and has forced them to make a number of adjustments to their budget for the new season.
Barca had hoped to become the first football club to break €1 billion in annual revenue and were on track to do so until March, when the virus forced football into a three-month hiatus.
That led to a huge reduction in revenue streams. As well as the loss of match-day revenue, Barca also had to close the club’s museum and club shops, which bring in millions of euros every year. There were further losses relating to television rights and sponsorship deals.
As a result, the club estimates a reduction of around 30% to their predicted income of just over €1bn for the 2019-20 campaign, which will have consequences on their budget moving forward.
A number of measures have been drawn up to help cut spending, based on the assumption normal club activity will resume at the start of 2021, although the club have not revealed what those measures will be exactly.
Barca have said the measures are in addition to those that were implemented at the outset of the pandemic, when the players accepted a 70% wage cut.
The losses will affect the club’s activity in the transfer market. Until they sell some players on, they will not be able to buy any new ones despite new coach Ronald Koeman’s desire to add fresh faces.
Meanwhile, they continue to try and lighten the wage bill by offloading big earners. So far, they have only managed to move on Ivan Rakitic, but Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal and Samuel Umtiti are among those the club are looking to transfer.
One player who will be staying is Lionel Messi, who kept the club on tenterhooks by trying to force a move away for free last month.
Barca’s all-time top scorer confirmed last week that he would remain at the club where he has spent his entire career for the coming season and began training with new coach Ronald Koeman for the first time on Monday.
“It’s great, everyone knows he’s the best player in the world, so to have that player in your team is exceptional,” Koeman told the club’s official media channel on Friday, speaking for the first time since the Messi saga began.
“For us it’s now very important to have Leo in the best conditions to play, there’s no question about his quality and it’s fantastic that he’ll be part of the season with Barcelona, everyone is really happy about that.”
Messi could make his first appearance since ending the speculation when Barca play Gimnastic de Tarragona in a friendly on Saturday.