As Dons report loss..
Cormack calls for action after Dons slump to loss
Aberdeen played a test game with a small crowd (pic: SNS Group)
Aberdeen FC chairman Dave Cormack has warned that Scottish football is about to be hit by a tsunami of financial turmoil as the pandemic wrecks balance sheets and threatens the game’s future.
He has called for a plan from the Scottish government after the club announced an operating loss of £2.92 million for the year ended 30 June. He is projecting a loss of £5m next year, with the wages to turnover ratio increasing from 68% to 90%.
Mr Cormack said season ticket revenues are likely to fall through the floor for next season – with no plans in sight to allow supporters back into grounds.
Aberdeen held a successful fan trial of 300 fans against Kilmarnock early in the season but the Covid lockdown tiers mean they have been unable to build on that. Cormack wants his club to start gradually rebuilding the levels of fans allowed into the stadium.
He has called for an update from the Scottish Government, warning that there will be significant cuts in Scottish clubs early next year.
“This is so important right now that this tsunami for Scottish football could really result in the mass reconstruction of clubs,” he said.
“I certainly wouldn’t be budgeting for 8,000 Aberdeen fans to buy a season ticket again if there is no plan.
“How many fans will buy season tickets in Scotland across the board? Who knows? How can you budget for 2,000, 3,000, 4,000?
“Our normal turnover is about £16m. About £2.2m of that is season ticket holders. All the other revenue streams that come into play.
“We’re in a fortunate position where commercially we do really well as a club. But that also now is hammering us because of the lack of hospitality and commercial income.
“The message is this: with no plan there will be significant, significant cuts in Scottish clubs starting at the end of the first quarter of 2021.”
He said there had been no response from the Government. “It’s disappointing,” he said.
“When you try to put your case and it’s someone three or four levels removed from the First Minister, who knows where that goes? I don’t know.
“We’re not looking for handouts. We’re looking for a plan. We’re looking to get together with the Scottish Government and get a plan in place.
“My appeal to the authorities and government is for us to sit down and have a conversation about what makes sense.
“As far as I’m aware, those conversations haven’t yet taken place.”
The club’s annual meeting takes place on 14 December.
The UK government has announced a rescue package of £300m of emergency funding for sports in England impacted by the absence of spectators because of coronavirus, but Mr Cormack said there is no sign of support north of the border.
In England both rugby codes and horse racing are among the beneficiaries of the UK government’s package, but not clubs in football’s Premier League or the English Football League which are expected to come up with their own rescue package. Cricket was not on the initial list.
Funding deals in England:
Football: £28m – National League (steps 1-2): £11m; National League (steps 3-6): £14m; Women’s Football (Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship): £3m
Rugby Union: £135m – Rugby Football Union: £44m; Premiership clubs: £59m; Championship clubs: £9m; Clubs below Championship: £23m
Rugby League: £12m
Horseracing: £40m – To racecourses
Motorsport: £6m – Owners/operators of major circuits (Silverstone, Goodwood, The British Automobile Racing Club, MotorSport Vision)
Tennis: £5m – Lawn Tennis Association
Netball: £4m – England Netball: £2m; Super League Netball: £2m
Basketball: £4m – Basketball England: £1m; British Basketball League clubs (including Women’s British Basketball League clubs): £3m
Ice Hockey: £4m – Elite League
Badminton: £2m – Badminton England
Greyhound racing: £1m – Greyhound Board of Great Britain