Coronavirus pandemic to cost football $14bn this year, says FIFA

Figure accounts for third of the game’s global economic value with club and national game worth $46bn worldwide.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City v Brighton & Hove Albion - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - June 23, 2020 A TV cameraman is seen with empty seats in the stands, as play resum
Football has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic through fixture list chaos, empty stadiums and loss of TV rights revenue [Andrew Boyers/Reuters]

FIFA has put the cost of the coronavirus pandemic on football around the world at $14bn in lost revenue.

That figure accounts for about a third of the game’s global economic value with the club and national game worth about $46bn worldwide.

The pandemic has already led to more than 150 football associations seeking financial help from the $1.5bn emergency relief fund set up by football’s governing body.

Olli Rehn, chairman of FIFA’s coronavirus steering committee, laid bare for the first time the true financial effect the coronavirus has had on the game through fixture list chaos, empty stadiums and loss of TV rights revenue.

“It’s a huge number and it covers the football economy in its entirety, including all youth academies,” Rehn, a Finnish politician and governor of the Bank of Finland, said on Wednesday.

“This will impact next year as well, there is a carry over,” Rehn, who is also independent deputy chairman of the FIFA Governance Committee, said.

He said while Europe was hit hardest in terms of absolute cost, it was the associations outside Europe that “have suffered more”.

“In particular in South America, many on account of their relative means and the spring to autumn season,” he said.

Last month, European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli predicted lost revenue of four billion euros ($4.7bn) over two years for its member clubs.

Each national association can request a FIFA grant of $1m ($2m for confederations) plus $500,000 for women’s football.

Loans are available to national associations up to a maximum value of $5m ($4m for confederations).

Meanwhile, Barcelona legend Lionel Messi was the highest-earning footballer of the year, according to a Forbes’s report, with $126m in earnings.

The report, published on Wednesday, placed Juventus player Cristiano Ronaldo second with $117m. Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar followed in third with $96m, but the rising star was his club mate, 21-year-old Kylian Mbappe, who has earned $42m.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies