The Deloitte Football Money League has revealed that the pandemic could cost top clubs up to £1.7 billion by the end of this season.
Currently, the money league suggests that clubs had already lost a staggering £976 million up to the end of the extended 2019/20 season, which was brought to a dramatic halt following he emergence of COVID-19.
Barcelona have topped the money list ahead of rivals and current La Liga champions Real Madrid and UEFA Champions League winner Bayern Munich. English Premier League side Manchester United came fourth and completing the top five came league winners Liverpool.
Deloitte stated that the on-pitch success of Liverpool, who saw them lift their first Premier League title in 30 years, as well as winning the UEFA Champions League the season prior, was the main culprit for this rise from seventh to fourth in the money league.
Other English clubs to finish the table's top 20 include Manchester City (6th), Chelsea (8th), Tottenham (9th), Arsenal (11th) and Everton (17th).
Overall, the top 20 clubs saw a 20 per cent revenue decline compared to the 2018/19 season, that can be linked to the drop off in broadcast and match day revenue, both circumstances of the COVID-19 shutdown of sport in 2020.
Manchester United saw the largest year-on-year decline among the top 20 clubs in the Money League. COVID-19 was the biggest factor in this revenue loss, however, the clubs lack of Champions League football also had detrimental effects on their financial position.
"There is no doubt that this is one of the most testing times the football industry has ever had to endure," said Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.
"While no football club has been immune to the challenges of Covid-19, and other clubs have suffered more in relative terms, those in the Money League have borne the greatest financial impact in absolute value terms.
"The safe return of fans to stadia in significant numbers is one of the highest priorities across global football. Matchday operations are a cornerstone of a club's business model and help drive other revenue-generating activity.
"Fans' absence will be more fully reflected in next year's Money League. The final size of the financial impact of the pandemic on football will depend, in no small part, on the timing and scale of fans' return."
Author: Jake Wilkin