Crisis hits football. Championships risk interruption without financing.

With 4,6 millions players, 1,4 million FIGC members (the Italian Football Federation, called “Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio”) and almost 570 thousand official games per year, football is the most popular sport in Italy.

But it is not just Italians’ great passion. According to “Bilancio Integrato 2018 FIGC” data (FIGC Integrated Budget data), the “Football System” generates direct sales of 4,7 billion €, positioning itself as one of the main ten Italian industries and as the main fiscal and social security contributor of the sport system (1,2 billion € generated only by professional football and a 70% incidence of the overall fiscal income of Italian sport).

The social-economic impact and the value generated by the sector in our country is also remarkable, with over 3 billion € in 2017-2018 (study made by FIGC and UEFA: SROI – Social Return on Investment Model). This figure considers the direct contribution to national economy (742,1 million €), as well as the social impact (1 billion €) and the health impact (1,2 billion € in 2018).

Such figures reflect 98.000 jobs generated, 135 million € in infrastructural investments, 606 million € coming from the costs for practicing, 9,1 billion € from betting, 1,2 billion € saving in the national health system expenditures. All these numbers suggest that when speaking of Covid19-related damage to “football”, we refer to a sector which has long been not just a sport, but a business generating billions of euros.

Besides such relevant turnover, the level of indebtedness reached by the clubs is equally considerable. The system of professional football has exceeded 4,2 billion €, suggesting a growth in the last five seasons (CAGR 2013-2018 +3,7% detailed in Report Calcio 2019 by FIGC).

Since the starting data on turnover and indebtedness are so high, we expect equally high potential damage following the health emergency-related stop: we currently estimate a 430 million € loss for TV rights only, 28 million € for tickets not sold, several million € loss for the clubs. But the real problem would be if FIGC was obliged to cancel the season, in which case losses of the sector would be about 500 million€, plus another 200 million € income, besides the fact that all other sports are financed through football, and so they also would be very much penalized.

Fabrizio Versiero, RSM Senior Manager specialized in Sport Management, makes the point on economic-financial criteria football clubs must meet to obtain the financing provided for the undergoing crisis. In this sense we need to focus on clubs with pre-Covid19 crisis or with-Covid crisis.

Each football club should submit a proper corporate plan suggesting if a club is capable of overcoming the critical period or not.

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