• Man United confirm huge £127m rise in debt as impact of Covid-19 is revealed

    Manchester United have confirmed their net debt has risen to £429 million ($525m), an increase of £127m ($155m), in the first three months of the year.

    United’s quarterly results, released on Thursday morning, showed the debt has increased by 42 per cent since last year and also highlighted the impact Covid-19 is having on the club financially.

    The increase, the club say, is down to an overall decrease in cash and cash equivalents, with adverse movements in the pounds sterling to US dollars exchange rate.

    The results show finances up until March 31, which includes three weeks where games were suspended due to the pandemic, and the club said they will revise predicted revenues of between £560m ($685m) and £580m ($710) for this year because of the financial impact of the coronavirus.

    “Operationally, the impact of the pandemic and measures to prevent further spread continues to disrupt businesses in a number of ways, most significantly in broadcasting and matchday operations,” the report said.

    The club’s chief financial officer Cliff Baty also confirmed on a call to investors that the financial impact of Covid-19 up until March 31 was £23m ($28m).

    This figure comprised the money they are expected to have to pay back broadcasters plus lack of revenue from a Premier League away game at Tottenham, postponement of home games and the temporary closure of the Megastore and museum.

    Broadcast revenue, meanwhile, was down by over 50 per cent from the previous year, to £26m ($32m), and the club expect they will have to pay back broadcasters around £20m ($18m) as a result of games not being shown due to the pandemic.

    Despite the vast increase in debt, United reported that they have the “financial flexibility to support the club through the disruption caused by Covid-19” due to £90m ($110m) of cash balances together with access to an additional £150m ($184m) under a credit facility.

    Executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said: “Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our colleagues, fans and partners around the world and we are extremely proud of how those connected to the club have responded during this crisis.

    “Since the start of the pandemic, Manchester United and our foundation have provided assistance to hospitals, charities and schools in our communities, as well as support for frontline workers and vulnerable fans.

    “These actions reflect our core values as a club and the resilience through adversity that we have demonstrated many times throughout our long history and will do so again to weather these current challenges.

    “In that spirit, we look forward to the team safely returning to the pitch and building on the exciting momentum that Ole and the players had previously achieved, while taking all necessary steps to protect public health. Our thoughts remain with all those affected during this unprecedented time.”

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