Analysis: Major Italian clubs have since 2017 incurred operating losses of more than €1 billion

10 June 2020

AC Milan
Photo: PA Images Juventus and AC Milan top the list of European clubs with biggest accumulated operating loss since 2017.

Even before the global pandemic, nine-figure operating losses were quite regular in the annual reports of major European clubs.

The expectation of serious reductions in transfer activity and transfer sums will likely result in several repercussions for top Italian clubs, who accumulated combined operating losses of more than €1 billion since 2017.

Of the clubs included in the analysis, 49 had wage-to-revenue ratios equal to or above UEFA benchmark. Over the past three years, 47 of the 49 clubs averaged operating losses - equivalent to 96 per cent of the clubs exceeding the risk indicator.

Among the 20 clubs with the largest operating losses are the so-called "talent monetisers" like Athletic Bilbao, Lyon and Benfica.

Joseph Mailil, analyst

Most European leagues are making plans to get their seasons underway once again, but despite the flicker of light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel, many clubs are suffering financially from the impact of the pandemic. 

However, several major clubs were already in deep financial waters long before the outbreak wreaked havoc on the industry. An analysis of 105 clubs from 2017 to 2019 shows that operating losses, which are calculated before player trading, amounted to a per-club average of €19 million a year. 

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