Coronavirus ‘my most serious hurdle at Spurs’, says Daniel Levy | Football

Daniel Levy has described the coronavirus pandemic as the greatest challenge he has faced during his 19 years in charge at Tottenham as the club announced their most recent financial figures and said they had spent £184m on new signings since last July.

Levy made the point that it felt “wholly inappropriate” to be publicising Spurs’s year-end figures to 30 June 2019 at a time when so many businesses were struggling because of the restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19.

But the chairman got the tone of his messaging right by saying he was legally required to announce the results by the end of the month and then talking mostly about the virus, the impact on families and how good health was the only thing that truly mattered. Levy said that he wanted the season to resume and finish rather than be declared null and void – but “only when it is safe and practical to do so”.

“We are all facing uncertain times both at work and in our personal lives,” Levy said. “I have spent nearly 20 years growing this club and there have been many hurdles along the way – [but] none of this magnitude. The Covid-19 pandemic is the most serious of them all.

Fifa has agreed to delay the first edition of its revamped Club World Cup, due to be held in 2021, to make way for the Euro 2020 and Copa América tournaments which have been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fifa said in a statement on Wednesday that it would “decide at a later stage when to schedule the new Club World Cup which was due to take place in June/July 2021.”

The new-look 24-team tournament, the brainchild of Fifa president Gianni Infantino, would be the biggest so far, taking place across eight Chinese cities, and including eight teams from Europe with six from South America. Until now, the competition has featured seven teams in total.

Fifa has also set up a working group to consider possible changes to transfer regulations amid fears that players whose contracts end during the stoppage could lose their jobs. Fifa said it wanted to “protect contracts for both players and clubs and adjusting player registration periods.”

The group would also consider creating a fund to compensate those in football who suffer financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. Reuters

Photograph: Robin van Lonkhuijsen/ANP

“You will have noticed that we have, as a necessity, ceased all fan-facing operations. With such uncertainty we shall all need to work together to ensure the impact of this crisis does not undermine the future stability of the club. Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our staff, players, partners, supporters and their families.” Spurs’s business features four main areas – sponsorship, gate receipts, food and beverage, and broadcast rights. With no matches until 4 April at best, they are taking a hammering.

The picture in the financial results looked rosier, with total revenues up to £460.7m from £380.7m and profits still robust at £68.6m, even if that was down from the previous year’s bonanza of £113m. Sponsorship and corporate hospitality was up to £120.3m from £93.4m, helped by the move into the new stadium for the final five Premier League games of the period.

The overall figures were boosted by the club’s run to the 2019 Champions League final, which earned them £108.4m. In 2018, when they reached the last 16 of the competition, they made £62.2m. José Mourinho is under no illusions as to the importance of Champions League qualification.

There was also the line which said “subsequent to the year end, a further £184m has been spent on player registrations.” This relates purely to the transfer fees of the club’s six new additions since 1 July, with some of the figures understood to be higher than previously reported.

Tanguy Ndombele, the club’s record signing, is believed to have cost just under £60m from Lyon with Giovani Lo Celso, who turned his loan from Real Betis into a permanent deal in January, costing around £57m. The other signings, with their approximate costs, have been Ryan Sessegnon (£25m), Jack Clarke (£10m), Steven Bergwijn (£30m) and Gedson Fernandes (£3m loan fee).

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