Hibernian warn of tough times ahead with revenue set to halve for 2020/21 season
Hibs chairman Ronald Gordon: "We're all excited that football is returning - but it will be behind closed doors, with likely limited attendance as a next phase."
Last Updated: 15/06/20 10:14pm
Hibernian are expecting to lose half their revenue for the 2020-2021 season and have warned of a “substantial and unsustainable strain on the club’s finances” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Like most football clubs, Hibs are having to face up to the financial cost of COVID-19 as they look to ensure the long-term viability of the club.
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The Edinburgh side has gone from boasting a healthy surplus earlier in the year to being forced to agree pay deferrals of between 20 and 50 per cent for players and staff in April, and have now revealed they are "embarking on a process of consultation with our people over proposals to find cost reductions."
With the Scottish Premiership season now officially finished after clubs voted to curtail the current campaign, thoughts have already turned to the 2020/21 season.
Hibernian and Hearts have held discussions with the Scottish Rugby Union about hosting games at "bio-secure" Murrayfield Stadium at some point in the future, where social distancing measures in crowds could be more easily managed.
But with matches likely to be played behind closed doors or in front of severely reduced crowds to begin with, Hibernian have warned of difficult times still to come, while thanking their supporters for the support they have shown in recent months.
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The Scottish Rugby Union has had positive early discussions with Hibernian and Hearts over using Murrayfield for football matches.
"We're all excited that football is returning - but it will be behind closed doors, with likely limited attendance as a next phase," chairman Ronald Gordon told the club's website.
"That means we continue to endure limited revenue opportunities for the foreseeable future. Therefore, several initiatives, activities and services at our club need to be paused or scaled back until it is safe, permissible and financially prudent for us to resume activity.
"We must now focus our limited resources on our core business - and that is supporting our first team to deliver success on the pitch. That is what we are here to do.
"This scaling back will have an impact on our people, and we enter into a period of consultation with them to discuss the potential impact on them. I would like to thank the contribution and efforts of all of our staff during this difficult time.
"I would also like to thank our supporters who, recognising the threat to the club, have responded. Around 8500 Season Tickets for next season have sold so far, with more selling each day despite fans knowing that the timing and shape of next season is far from clear at this stage.
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"Our "Thank You NHS" home shirt was launched to national acclaim and record sales. And with the 2019-20 season called early, with four home matches not played, less than 15 per cent of season ticket holders have requested a refund.
"We will get through this by all working together. Supporters, staff, management and players have all played their part so far, and I believe will continue to do so."
Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster added: "From the start, in light of the uncertainty around what shape next season will ultimately take, we have sought to ensure our supporters have the fullest understanding of the situation before us, and that includes what your ticket will secure for you.
"Any supporter who cannot commit to travel this difficult journey with us will be treated fairly, with respect, and with our understanding, but we hope and believe you will want to be with us every step of the way.
"We understand not everyone is able to help as they might like in these difficult times, however if you can help, we thank you for it."