Premier League chief executive Richard Masters warns of losses if season is cancelled

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has warned that the league will face losses worth £1 billion if the 2019/20 season is not concluded as a result of the coronavirus crisis. He also defended the clubs that are using the government’s support scheme to pay furloughed staff. 

This shows that the season completion is still the biggest priority when it is safe to do so and leagues around Europe have now been granted greater flexibility following FIFA’s announcement that the campaign can be extended indefinitely if there is demand.

In a letter written to parliamentary sports committee chairman Julian Knight Masters wrote: “We face a £1 billion loss, at least, if we fail to complete the 2019/20 season and further losses going forward if the seriousness of the pandemic deepens and extends into the future.”

A number of clubs used the Job Retention Scheme by the government that allows businesses to furlough employees, who will then be paid 80% of their normal salary out of the taxpayer’s purse up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

Liverpool made a decision over the weekend and furloughed their staff. However, the Reds were heavily criticized and having a long built reputation preaching a particular set of values and with that, announcing a £42 million profit for last season, their decision was then reversed.

Initially, everyone thought that the government scheme is intended only for the small businesses, considering the fact that the Premier League clubs are among those who can withstand the temporary shortfalls the coronavirus crisis has brought. Masters took a stand against this though as well and defended clubs’ right to apply for government assistance.

He said, “We do agree with you that restraint needs to be shown by all and we and our clubs are doing just that. Individual clubs will need to make these decisions based on their own forecasts as each club will have their own unique position. The furlough scheme announced by the government is meant for the whole economy, including many enterprises which that be regarded as providing entertainment or otherwise dependent on elite talent.”

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