Premier League clubs prepare doomsday scenario budgets
Two of Sheffield United’s Premier League rivals are drawing-up budgets which take into account the possibility that even next season could take place behind closed doors as the impact of the coronavirus crisis on even top flight clubs’ finances becomes apparent.
Liverpool and Manchester United have reportedly commissioned investigations into how the scenario would affect their revenue streams as splits begin to emerge among clubs over the contents of ‘Project Restart’; the plan designed to enable the present campaign to be completed later this summer.
With no matches being staged since the beginning of March, there is a consensus within the game that the spectators will be banned from watching the remaining 92 fixtures because social distancing rules, introduced to curb the spread of the respiratory disease, prohibit mass gatherings. But with those unlikely to be eased in their entirety for the rest of the year, officials at Anfield and Old Trafford fear supporters could be prohibited from entering stadia throughout the 2020/21 campaign too.
Their counterparts at United are expected to also examine how they would cope should that become a reality before the Government outlines how and when it expects to begin easing restrictions later this week.
On Friday, when PL members met to review their response to the pandemic, it emerged 10 approved grounds could be used to host fixtures in order to prevent the present season being abandoned.
Although that proposal is believed to have the support of many teams within the division, some sources claim that those towards the bottom of the table are opposed to the idea of abandoning the ‘home and away’ formula by requiring clubs to play at neutral venues.
United were seventh in the table and preparing to face Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-finals when the sport entered lockdown.
"For me, we should be looking at how we can finish this season before we start worrying about the next one," he said recently.