London-based clubs respond to effects of coronavirus

By SWL staff
March 20 2020, 15.25

With coronavirus hitting every corner of planet earth, we look at the cost implications on some of the London-based football clubs.

The Premier League announced all games are to be postponed until at least 30 April 2020, with no certainty as to when or if the current season will be finished with rumours already surfacing that there is a will from all 20 Premier League clubs to end the current season well into June 2020.

The London-based Premier League clubs that are directly affected by this decision include: Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Watford.

With the Euro 2020 tournament which was due to take place this summer now officially postponed to 2021, this leaves a window of opportunity for the Premier League clubs to finish their season well by 30 June 2020.

The true cost implications on the London-based clubs isn’t yet known as this is a developing story, however, the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, who just released the club’s financial results which included an £80m increase in revenue to £460.7m said in a statement yesterday: “We are all facing uncertain times both at work and in our personal lives.

“I have spent nearly 20 years growing this club and there have been many hurdles along the way – none of this magnitude – the COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious of them all.

“You will have noticed that we have, as a necessity, ceased all fan-facing operations. With such uncertainty we shall all need to work together to ensure the impact of this crisis does not undermine the future stability of the club.

“This will include working with the wider football industry and its stakeholders to seek to restore the season – but only when it is safe and practical to do so. Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our staff, players, partners, supporters and their families.”

This follows on from many other clubs up and down the county that are already telling staff in training grounds as well as matchday operational staff to stay at home as we are told to do our bit to try and contain this virus at bay. 

In a stark contrast to the riches of the London-based Premier League clubs, Barnet FC, have placed all of their non-playing staff on a ‘long notice period’ which in essence means they will not get a salary while the country tries to cope with the effects of the virus.

This measure includes freezing head coach Darren Currie’s contract. A statement released by the club board on Tuesday said: “Since relegation (from the English Football League), we have seen a general drop in crowd attendances of 50%, whilst general costs have increased resulting in operational losses of approximately £100,000 per month.

“The club budgeted for this cost in the hope of promotion but of course, at the end of April, all of our parachute funding will cease and we need to therefore make savings accordingly.

“In addition to these challenges, we have to consider the greater challenge of the impact that Covid-19 will have in the immediate and long-term future.

“In order to meet the challenges ahead of us, we will have to dismantle our existing cost structure and look to rebuild for next season with a much leaner cost base.

“We have therefore taken the difficult decision to put all Barnet FC staff on notice. This is to include all first-team coaching and backroom staff, the Barnet FC Academy and many of the operational staff across all areas of the club.

“Supporters will understandably want to know how this situation affects our head coach, Darren Currie.

“Darren has a long notice period within his contract and as such, should the season resume, he will remain in charge until at least the end of the season and possibly beyond.”

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