Leicester announce £67.3m pre-tax losses for year ending May 2020 due to early impact of Covid-19

Leicester CEO Susan Whelan: "While the early impact of Covid-19 on commercial revenues is clear, 2019/20 was still a season of considerable progress; Brendan Rodgers does not expect transfer spending to be at same level as before pandemic, but is confident club will invest in squad

Leicester City's King Power Stadium (PA)
Image: Leicester's losses are partly explained by significant investment in a new training ground and land around the King Power Stadium

Leicester have announced a pre-tax loss of £67.3m for the year ending May 2020 as the Foxes begin to count the cost of the pandemic.

The losses are up from £20.2m from the previous year and are partly explained by significant investment in a new training ground, land around the King Power Stadium, and player signings, but the club said that lockdown led to considerable costs in the final three months of the accounting period.

"Principal costs such as the majority of the club's contribution to the Premier League's broadcaster rebate, were borne in the accounts before the year-end, while the extension of the season's conclusion has meant almost a quarter of Premier League revenues, prize money and sponsorship revenue will be not recognised as income until the 2020/21 financial year," a statement said.

The impact of that was a drop in turnover to £150m from £178.4m for the previous 12 months.

Socially distanced fans in the stands at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium 1:11
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said coronavirus 'certificates' were being considered as a way of getting people back to larger events 'in significant numbers'

The club did not furlough staff during lockdown and continued to pay casual matchday and non-matchday staff until the end of the financial year despite the suspension of play, with many deployed within the community at a time when Leicester was one of the worst-hit areas in the country.

Chief executive Susan Whelan said: "While the early impact of Covid-19 on commercial revenues is clear, 2019/20 was still a season of considerable progress.

"On the pitch, we secured a return to European football with our second-highest ever Premier League finish and, off it, we were able to support our people through times of hardship, further strengthening the bond between the club and its communities."

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Rodgers: Leicester owners retain long-term vision for club

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers insists the owners retain their long-term vision for the club, despite the latest financial figures.

"It's shown the confidence the management of the club have in balancing the budget and the figures that they continue to invest," said Rodgers.

"You only need to look around at the likes of the training ground to see the investment that is ongoing at the club, so that gives great reassurance to supporters that despite the pandemic, the club are still pushing on with the long-term vision of the club, which is important.

"Hopefully for us, like all clubs, we get supporters back in next season and that figure [losses] comes down."

PA - Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers 2:34
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers says the owners retain their long-term vision for the club despite the latest financial figures revealing a pre-tax loss of £67.3m

Although he admitted transfer spending may be lower than initially planned in the summer, Rodgers remains confident he will still have some money to spend in order to further strengthen an already impressive squad.

"I think there will be a level of spending, that's something we have already been speaking about in the last few months," he added.

"We want to continue to improve and develop. It probably won't be the same as pre-Covid but there will certainly be an investment.

"We have a developing group of players that are continually improving and we've only been working together two years, so I suspect that they will improve and I want to strengthen the squad as well and I'm pretty hopeful we'll be able to do that."

Covid's impact on Premier League

PA - PL ball gv 1:02
Tim Bridge, director of Deloitte Sports Business Group, says the football industry will have to change to recover from the financial damage done by the pandemic

For Sky Sports' in-depth 'Counting the cost: Covid's impact on football finances' story, Tim Bridge, a director in Deloitte's Sports Business Group, said Premier League clubs were always likely to feel a big impact from Covid-19.

"The Premier League is the highest revenue-generating league and it won't be a surprise to anybody that it has felt the biggest impact," said Bridge.

"It's taken us a while to get there because there are elements that have been deferred, there are elements that have been lost, and nobody knew when fans were going to come back, so we didn't know when the cut-off point was.

"But if you assume that fans are back in stadiums from the start of the 2021/22 season, then the impact on the Premier League will be in the region of 1.6bn euros of lost revenue."

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