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Portuguese football clubs could lose €362m

Portuguese football clubs could see losses upwards of €362m (£326m/$444m) due to missed ticket, membership and commercial revenue caused by COVID-19, a new study has found.

The Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Profissional (LPFP), the governing body that manages professional football club competitions in the country, conducted an investigation into the impact of the pandemic on the top two leagues – the Primeira Liga and the Liga Portugal 2.

A statement from LPFP said: “The results show that there is a strong impact, both in terms of revenues and expenses, since, compared to the 2018/2019 season, there were losses of 100 per cent in ticketing, 80 per cent in membership fees, 70 per cent in revenues of merchandising and also 15 per cent in revenues from commercial activity.”

The LPFP also highlighted the “worrying numbers” it has reported in the first quarter of the 2020-21 season as it aims to assess the “real impacts” of the pandemic.

It said: “In addition, UEFA may make economic adjustments to the participation of societies in international competitions, due to the fact that the entity is managing the revenues itself. The possibility of losses is around €31.2m.”

It also stressed that the expenses required for testing, disinfection of spaces, protective material and remote working has seen costs increase.

LPFP said: “In these scenarios, sports societies have not managed to reduce spending in proportion to the decrease in revenues, and have faced an enormous challenge in maintaining jobs, with a reduction of only 10 per cent in staff costs.”

In 2018-19, the last full Primeira Liga season before the COVID outbreak, Benfica had the highest average attendance with 53,800, followed by Porto (41,600) and Sporting Lisbon (33,700).