Virus Outbreak Could Cost Russian Soccer Clubs $128mn

Russia’s major soccer clubs are losing around one billion rubles a week ($12.8 million) as the championship was stopped due to the coronavirus outbreak, RBC reports.

The Russian Premier League season has been suspended until at least 31 May, and the 16 clubs in Russia’s top soccer league could lose a total of ten billion rubles ($128 million) over the ten-week shutdown, the news outlet writes.

Players at Spartak Moscow — which said it was losing 125 million rubles ($1.6 million) a week in foregone matchday revenues — took a 40% salary cut after Moscow imposed a strict quarantine which meant they could not attend training sessions. Zenit St. Petersburg, which is currently nine points clear at the top of the league with eight games remaining, said it was also losing a similar amount to Spartak.

The fall in the ruble has compounded problems for some clubs, the president of Akhmat Grozny told RBC, as salaries for non-Russian players are often contracted in foreign currencies. Meanwhile, contracts with gambling firms, which heavily sponsor the clubs, are under review, as the betting industry also racks up losses from the lack of sports events.

“Even small fees from the sale of tickets, when 10 thousand people come, are financial losses, not to mention 40-50 thousand people. But an order was issued to defer tax payments and social payments. This will allow the clubs to stay afloat during this period when the championship is suspended,” Zenit CEO Alexander Medvedev said.

Several other football club managers said that in the total of 16 RPL teams, losses for a month without competition will amount to from 3 billion to 4 billion rubles ($38.7 million – $51.6 million). “This amount includes lost opportunities from the use of stadiums, the sale of paraphernalia and tickets, the implementation of television rights,” said the manager of one of the RPL clubs.

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