Watford’s £35.6m loss, transfer fees and rising debt – The Athletic

Kacper Wilkins
Kacper Wilkins
3 Min Read

Pinch, punch, the first of the month and the release of Watford’s financial figures up to June 2020, which means the first glimpse into that sorry combination of relegation and COVID-19 on the club’s accounts.

The headline figures are the club made a pre-tax loss of £35.6m compared to a £9.8m profit the previous year. This puts them seventh in the Premier League of the 18 teams to have published their accounts (Newcastle and Crystal Palace are still to come).

Turnover fell by £27.7m (£147.7m to £120.0m) which was down to a £23.5m fall in broadcast revenue and reduced match-day revenue.

“The worldwide Covid-19 pandemic negatively affected the finances of this football club just as acutely as any other, as these accounts evidence,” said Watford chairman and CEO Scott Duxbury. “On the back of such a loss, compounded by relegation, it would have been easy for the club to have trodden a different path. Yet instead all employees kept their jobs, there was no fire sale of player talent and the ownership’s massive investment and commitment meant we were able to ensure that the year which followed these accounts was extremely successful – despite the continuing challenges.”

Dig deeper into the figures and there are some interesting nuggets of information regarding player wages, transfer fees, increased debt and settling disputes.

Let’s break it down.

COVID- 19 impact

For the first time a section of the accounts has been devoted to the impact of COVID-19, but with the pandemic hitting Premier League football from March 2020, these figures only take into account three months of disruption. The club put the loss during that period at £9.9m due to a decline in matchday (£2.4m from two home fixtures against Leicester and Southampton), commercial (£280,000) and most notably broadcast revenue (£7.2m rebate).

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