Manchester United will publish their year-end accounts in mid-October which is set to underline the full scale of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the club’s running total of losses over the last six months already in excess of £75 million and likely to top £100m before the end of the year.
United will post their financial figures for the fourth quarter at the same time and, with that period covering business from April 1 to June 30, it will give a full insight into the losses caused by football being suspended in mid-March and closed to paying supporters ever since.
Sources have told ESPN that United lose between £4m-5m every time Old Trafford stages a match behind closed doors and the club has, to date, played seven competitive games at home in front of empty stands.
Had the 2019-20 season been played to a natural conclusion with fans inside stadiums, United would also have benefited from two further home games in the Europa League quarterfinals and semifinals against FC Copenhagen and Sevilla respectively.
The loss of up to nine home games in front of 73,000 paying spectators has cost United close to £45m in lost earnings, with more to come this season following the UK government’s decision to abandon plans to sanction a phased reintroduction of fans to stadiums from Oct. 1.
With United also owing the Premier League broadcasters a rebate of at least £20m due to the disruption to scheduling as a result of the pandemic and the club unable to earn in excess of £10m on a lucrative preseason tour this summer, even one of the world’s most profitable football clubs is having to deal with escalating losses.
The club has also been unable to sell season tickets due to uncertainty over when fans will be able to return and United will lose out on a further £37.5m if the 2020-21 season is played behind closed doors in its entirety.
Sources have told ESPN that the losses caused by the pandemic are a major factor in the club’s caution during this transfer window, in which they have made just one signing so far by spending £40m on Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek.