Manchester City have revealed the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the club by reporting a net loss of £126 million for the 2019-20 season -- a year after reporting a profit of £10.1 million.
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The Premier League leaders, who remain in contention to achieve an unprecedented quadruple of all three domestic trophies and the Champions League this season, confirmed an 11% reduction in revenues, down to £478.4m from £535.1m, in their Annual Report for the financial year ending Jun 30, 2020.
With manager Pep Guardiola saying last Friday that it would be "impossible" for City to afford a world-class replacement for striker Sergio Aguero, effectively ruling out a summer move for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland or Tottenham's Harry Kane, the revelation of City's losses underscores Guardiola's comments that even the Abu Dhabi-owned club are not immune from the financial impact of the pandemic.
The losses, which remain some way short of the record £194.9m loss reported by City in Nov 2011, have been attributed by the club to "revenue delays relating to just under a quarter of Premier League matches and the latter stages of the UCL and FA Cup."
City also point to "significant revenues from player sales, such as Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich (€50m), being also delayed by the pandemic and do not appear in the 2019-20 accounts."
Twelve months of games being played behind closed doors at the Etihad Stadium, combined with rebates paid to broadcasters during the pandemic, have also contributed to the club's losses.
But while admitting that City, and football in general, are enduring difficult times because of the pandemic, chief executive Ferran Soriano is confident that the club's finances will bounce back quickly.
"Clearly, the 2019-20 accounts in isolation are not the best representation of the reality of the season with delayed player trading and numerous games being played after 30th June 2020, the revenues from which will be accounted in the 2020-21 period," Soriano said.
"A better financial picture of the COVID years will be provided at the end of the 2020-21 season, when the two seasons are combined and normalised."