European football governing body UEFA has revealed clubs in Europe lost a staggering €4bn (£3.3bn/$4.5bn) in 2021, with the majority of the losses coming from a fall in gate receipts due to the pandemic.
Other factors included a reshaped calendar, television rebates and a loss of commercial and sponsorship revenue.
The €4bn figure is even higher than 2020’s number, with losses amounting to €2.5bn in comparison, meaning the last two years of the pandemic has cost European football almost €7bn.
UEFA revealed the projected losses in its Football Landscape Report, which has analysed the men and women’s game and the cost to clubs across the two seasons between 2019 and 2021.
Ticket sales fell by 88% as most stadiums across Europe were shut with matches taking place behind closed doors. In a number of countries across Europe, including Germany and Italy, stadiums are still operating at limited capacities for attendees.
Around €900m was handed back to television companies and a further €1.7bn was lost in commercial and sponsorship revenue.
Other key figures that had an impact on revenue included player wages at top clubs rising by 2% over the two years, despite clubs’ falling income. Of overall income, 91% was associated with player wages, transfer costs and staff wages. This is up from 66% in 2019.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “One lesson of the last two years has been that it is only by showing solidarity and working together that European football can overcome existential challenges such as the pandemic.
“This report provides sobering details of the post-pandemic challenges that await us. But whether the pandemic stays or goes, European football will stay strong, stable and united in 2022.”