Juventus President Andrea Agnelli predicts losses up to €8.5 billion for the football industry and insists collective agreements must be changed to operate in a time of crisis.
Agnelli took part to News Tank Football to discuss the future of the football industry in a time of pandemic.
“The moment we are living is not just down to the football industry, there is great acknowledgement of how the society is behaving through this pandemic. In a moment like this, I’d like to extend my sincere my sincere thanks to the medical institutions," Juventus' No.1 said.
“We haven’t foreseen such scenario in front of us. We did a tremendous logistic effort to find the right solutions and accommodate the fixture list [last season]. A public thank you to UEFA and European Leagues, the players and the clubs as we fund a way to complete the 2019-20 season by postponing Euro 2020.
“We are still not in the position to fully understand what has happened in the industry, in a few months we might have a real understanding of what this crisis has meant for clubs," Agnelli warned.
“Only at the end of the season, provided that we do find a solution to resume our activities at full.
“I was looking at the data from the top 20 clubs in the Deloitte’s Money League, we had a €1.1 billion hit in the 2019-20 season and it estimates, for those 20 clubs alone, a €2 billion hit for the combined two years. I think it’s going to be worse than that.
“As the 19-20 season only had four months of crisis, empty stadiums, commercial and broadcasting rebaits, from my point of observation 20-21 will be a full season without fans in the stadiums. We are in the middle of tenders, the Germans have had a loss of value of 10%, we are seeing international broadcasters not paying their dues, so I think this season will be much worst.
“When I look at the best information I’ve had so far, we are looking at a bottom-line loss with the industry in the region of €6.5 billion to €8.5 billion for the combined two years and about 360 clubs will need cash injection, whether it’s debt or equity within, those two years for an amount of €6 billion.
“The hits we had also impacted the transfer market. If you look at the European transfer market alone, these years we had transfers for €3.9 billion against €6.5 billion of the previous year, €2.6 billion less year over year and that is mostly the indirect solidarity which shows we are still navigating through very rough seas.
"There is a need to review the football market and collective agreements with the players to have the tools to operate in a time of crisis," Agnelli added.
“The whole industry is going through a very complicated moment that requires serious thinking in terms of how we want to address and tackle the future of our industry going forward.”
So, what could be the next step for the football industry?
“It requires a good share of vision of what the future in 10-15-25 years, and it is not always evident to have that. I don’t know if you have kids, I have five myself, from 16 years old to 2 years old, and I try to look at their behaviour. Do they have the patience to stay in front of the TV watching a game? Evidently not the 2 year old, but when I look at the older ones, they do not have that patience anymore.
"We’ll have to adapt and evolve to habits and behaviours. When we look at the different kind of fans we go from football fanatics to fan loyalists to icon imitators, or just people who want to go to big events. We’ve becoming much more segmented and in the future it will be even more challenging with the generation Z, we’ll have to pay attention because this generation will be spenders in five years and the biggest spenders in 15 years. Do we think that what has been offered to them today is what they want? Or are we just living in the past?
"We need to be able to design a mechanism that attracts the interest of fans providing them both exciting national and clubs’ competitions. I really do welcome the conversation that are going to take place between UEFA and the ECA. To analyse the future we kicked off a meeting ten days ago at the presence of both president Ivan Ceferin and myself."