Would the Top 14 resist the Covid-19? The games behind closed doors have been linked since the start of the season and what seemed impossible then seems possible today. Even without an audience, the clubs are not in danger. Despite the end of the championship last March, despite the lack of revenue (only 25% come from TV rights) due to the absence of spectators, no team is threatened with bankruptcy.
“It’s even the opposite,” said Mourad Boudjellal, the former president of Toulon. In the 2019-2020 season, confinement saved the Top 14 clubs a lot of money. In March, when everything stopped, the ticketing and the partnership were already complete. Then, we no longer had charges and the payroll was largely covered by partial unemployment. For example, the Toulon budget has been improved by 1 million euros. And then, when a club had a structural deficit, the season before the Covid, it still has it this year and it has not become the fault of the Covid. “
Loyalty of partners and sponsors
Mourad Boudjellal targets in particular Didier Lacroix, the president of Stade Toulousain, who painted a very dark picture of the situation. “If we are not in suspension of payments, it is because we are held by the loans that we have contracted”, had launched the boss of the champions of France in title in our columns in November.
The safeguards put in place by the State have indeed allowed the Top 14 clubs to breathe. The loans guaranteed by the State (PGE) – 5 million euros for Toulouse – allow to amortize the losses, and an aid of 40 million euros for the whole of professional rugby has been granted. The first payments are due at the beginning of February. The drop in player salaries (from 10 to 15%) and the loyalty of partners and sponsors have also kept the structures afloat.
“Without the assistants and the PGE, the clubs would have lost between 7 and 11 million euros at the end of this season, specifies an actor of the Top 14. There, it will be rather between 2 and 4 million euros. »Which is not exceptional. The last “non-crisis” season, in 2018-2019, ended with a cumulative operating deficit of the thirty clubs (Top 14 and Pro D2) of 43 million euros. And before the end of the competitions in March 2020, the forecast deficit for the 2019-2020 financial year was estimated at 54 million euros.
“We have no visibility”
“Patron” presidents such as Mohed Altrad (Montpellier), Jacky Lorenzetti (Racing 92) or Hans-Peter Wild (Stade Français) have regularly made up for much larger deficits than those expected at the end of this season. “But we can not be satisfied with that, underlines Thomas Lombard, the general manager of the Parisian club. Even if the aid limits the losses, the EMP ( Editor’s note: from 2022 with the possibility of smoothing over several seasons ). And then, the boxes were paid for at the beginning of the year while we are in camera. It is something that we owe to our partners. “
Nothing insurmountable, even if a concern takes shape. “We have no visibility, worries Thomas Lombard. We do not know when the situation will return to normal, how the market will react at that time, to what extent partners and sponsors will have been impacted. The situation remains very vague. “
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr