Sheffield United CEO, Stephen Bettis, has revealed how the coronavirus outbreak has affected the club’s finances.
Professional football in England has been indefinitely suspended since March 13 due to the pandemic.
With income greatly reduced as a result, many employees have been furloughed. The Blades are currently operating with a skeleton staff.
There are plans being discussed to resume the Premier League season next month as part of ‘Project Restart’. However, matches will be played behind closed doors and possibly at neutral venues.
BBC Sport reports that, because of this diminished product, clubs may have to pay back £340m of TV money to domestic and international broadcasters.
This will obviously be a huge blow to all 20 teams. Especially when big wages are still being paid to players. Those without hugely wealthy owners bankrolling them during the crisis, like United, could also be hit harder.
The other issue is many clubs have already spent this money. According to the Yorkshire Post, the £22m record fee the Blades paid for Sander Berge in January was partly based on the TV money they would receive. Money they may now have to pay back.
How are the finances at Sheffield United?
Fans need not panic just yet, though. Bettis has reassured them that, while United’s finances have understandably taken a hit, they remain in a solid position.
“It’s known and it’s been well publicised the levels of money involved within the Premier League and the potential losses to each of the clubs,” he told the club website.
“I can say that the board and our owner have been extremely supportive. Even with our staff and furloughing them, but not using the Government’s scheme. And making sure that everyone is getting 100 percent of their money during this difficult period to keep them OK and at home, safe.
“It’s been tough and there’s still a long road to go. But I think we’re in a good place and we’re making decisions to be able to push forward for next season.”
The good thing for the Blades financially is that with them currently being seventh with 43 points, they are under no threat of relegation.
They will also retain a large percentage of TV money having already played 28 games this term. Also, their impressive position in the table should result in increased prize money.
Times are hard for everyone, but at Bramall Lane they are coping.