Liverpool’s position became indefensible before they reversed their decision but that is of little comfort to clubs in the Premier League’s lower reaches, who now know that they furlough staff at their peril.
Anfield has contributed substantially to that concept being a toxic term.
‘It’s not helpful for us,’ said one club executive, also observing that Manchester City’s announcement that it would not furlough non-playing staff was easy for a club bankrolled by a sheik with an estimated net worth of £24billion. The financial reality is different for those not making the same £42million-a-year profit as Liverpool.
Detailed financial analysis by Sportsmail shows how clubs who have recorded years of losses stand to take big hits if the Premier League season is cancelled. The biggest chunk of ‘missing’ income will be TV cash, with serial loss-making club Everton standing to miss out on a further £32.2m, Crystal Palace £31.9m and Brighton £23.9m, based on their league positions when play was suspended. All three have nine more games outstanding.
Such are the economics of a top-flight division jet-propelled by vast TV money. Sheffield United, another regular loss-maker in recent years, would take a particularly hard TV hit.
This season’s new Premier League overseas TV rights deal — which, for the first time, sees the higher finishing clubs paid vastly more than lower ones — means that Chris Wilder’s side would lose £38.8m. Norwich, who have already furloughed staff, stand to lose less than any other.
Clubs will also lose anticipated match-day money — a figure reached in our calculations by adjusting average income per match per club for how many home games are remaining.