CELTIC and Rangers are Europe’s top two clubs likely to be affected by the financial meltdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Glasgow giants were placed first and second in a league of 100 European sides that would miss gate receipts the most.

The results came from a survey carried out by the digital business media firm Off The Pitch and were published today in the Scottish Sun on Sunday.

They monitored the finances, ownership and strategy of clubs over a three-year period.

The outcome shows the nine-in-a-row champions and their Ibrox adversaries rely on match day income more than any of the other teams.

The SPFL hopes football can get back on track on August 1 – with training restarting a week on Thursday with social-distancing guidelines still to be observed – when Sky’s Premiership TV deal is due to start.

With games almost certainly being played behind closed doors at first, it will mean a huge financial shortfall for the clubs.

Two-thirds of Rangers’ total income comes from match day revenue, including sponsorship, corporate hospitality and catering. Celtic are rated in the 45 per cent category.

HAMPDEN RIVALS…Celtic and Rangers line up for the Betfred League Cup Final at Hampden on December 8. The Parkhead side won with a goal from Christopher Jullien on the hour mark.

David Low, who was Fergus McCann’s financial adviser when he brought the Hoops back from the brink of bankruptcy in 1994, believes the figures are looking particularly ominous for the Ibrox club.

He said: “It’s an imperfect storm for them. Scottish clubs’ over-reliance on match day revenue is a general problem, but Celtic and Rangers also have the two biggest wage bills in this country.

“However, while Celtic have signed a lucrative new deal with Adidas, Rangers will be having their kits manufactured by new boys Castore, which means that – unlike Celtic – they won’t receive a large advance from them.

“Add to that the fact that Rangers have no cash reserves while Celtic have £35million in the bank and that Rangers have no credit facilities with any bank and it’s an unhealthy place for them to be in at this particular point in time.

“They have no cash or access to cash and the only way out of that I can see is for their directors to issue even more loans and eventually convert them in to equity, which has the effect of further devaluing the worth of the club’s shares.

“Celtic fans regularly criticise major shareholder Dermot Desmond, but they should be careful what they wish for. There’s never been a better time for any club to have a genuine billionaire on hand.”

The Off The Pitch report states: “Seventeen of the 20 clubs most reliant on match day income are from the UK, with 13 playing in the Championship or lower in the ongoing season.”

“The biggest is Arsenal, with an average of 24 per cent of their revenue derived from match day proceeds in the period, making the London club’s losses the most severe among the top 20 in absolute numbers.

“Rangers are top of the pile, as 67 per cent of the club’s turnover came from match day income in the analysed period.

“In the annual report of 2019, Rangers revealed that season-ticket income alone made up £16.1million of the total turnover of £53million, making a scenario without spectators until 2021 – and the consequent decline in season-ticket sales for next season – a serious financial concern for the club.

“However, it seems as if the club are focused on reducing their dependence on match day income.

BEST FOOT FORWARD…Christopher Jullien clears from Rangers dangerman Alfredo Morelos.

“Last year, Rangers headhunted James Bisgrove to assume the role of commercial director with the goal of revamping the club’s commercial and partnership strategy.

“Celtic, face the same challenges – the club recorded a match-day-to-revenue ratio of 45 per cent over the three-year period.

“In order to ensure as many of the current season-ticket holders as possible renew their seats for next season, the club recently extended the deadline to renew season tickets to the end of May.

“Whether fans with season tickets will be inclined to renew their seats, given the possibility of missing half the games next season, remains unknown.”

Celtic boss Neil Lennon is already in process of slimming down his first-team squad after allowing Ivory Coast midfielder Eboue Kouassi to join Belgian outfit Genk during the week while the champions will not be renewing the contracts of first-teamers Jonny Hayes and Jozo Simunovic while fringe player Calvin Miller has also been told he can leave.

Steven Gerrard, though, has just completed the £3million signing of Turkish-born midfielder Ianis Hagi, son of Romanian legend Gheorghe Hagi, at a reported £3million from Genk.

The 21-year-old, who had a loan spell at Ibrox after joining in January, had four years to run on his contract at the Belgian side.

Hagi agreed a three-year contract with Gerrard’s side and it is believed the transfer fee will be spread over that period.


1 – Rangers 67 %

2 – Celtic 45%

2 – Porto 45%
4 – Charlton 44%
5 – Sheffield United – 40%
6 – Millwall  37%
7 – Nottingham Forest 33%
8 –  Derby County 30%
8 – Barnsley 30%
10 – Ajax  29%
10  – Ipswich Town 29%
12 – Leeds United 28%
13 – Preston 26%
14 – Birmingham City 25%
14 –  Brentford 25%
16 – Reading 25%
17 – Arsenal 24%
17 –  Blackburn Rovers  24%
19 – Athletic Bilbao 23%

19 -Bristol City 23%


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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