Uefa meeting, Celtic finances


I want to take a look at what Uefa might do this week that could have an impact on others, as well as our finances.  Expect lots of news from Uefa, who have a videoconference on Wednesday and Thursday.  We should learn how last season’s Champions and Europa Leagues will conclude, what next season’s qualification competition will look like and the calendar of dates for next season, with guidance on transfer windows.

A relatively minor point with more bearing in Scotland will be discussed on Thursday, how Financial Fair Play (FFP) will be enforced with respect to the crisis.  You will remember we discussed Newco’s position with respect to FFP in a lengthy article in February.  Without revisiting detail, the scenario required them to sell significantly before the 30 June financial year end to prevent them breaching FFP regulations.

FFP breaches do not instantly or automatically lead to disqualification from Uefa competition, but it would require the club to take “rehabilitative action” or else face consequences, including the ultimate Uefa sanction.  Rehabilitative action means cutting costs, significantly so, in the case of Newco.

Current FFP rules allows for exemptions due to exceptional circumstances, which the current crisis certainly is.  The process effectively adds-in revenue or subtracts costs you would otherwise see were it not for the exceptional circumstances, so in theory, Newco could claim allowance for a few lost revenue (although unlike Celtic, this will be very limited as they did not offer refunds).

We have to hope that no substantive changes are made to FFP rules.

Scottish football was a different place when we looked at Newco’s finances in February.  Celtic’s interim accounts to 31 December showed £32m in the bank, we were on our way to nine-in-a-row and finances were very stable.  10 of the 12 others in the Premiership were living within their means and we had a new TV deal to look forward to.  Since then, red ink has bled everywhere.

Our operating expenses for the first 6 months of the financial year were £7.6m per month.  The manager, coaches and execs have taken pay cuts, while furloughed staff costs are met by the taxpayer, but I expect the deferrals players took will all have to be paid by the time this financial year closes on 30 June.  Cash burn since 1 January will not be as high as £7.6m per month, but it will be close to this until lockdown started on 23 March and no lower than £4m per month since.  There has been very little income since the new year (Copenhagen, some Scottish Cup and league receipts, retail), with money going out for refunds.

So what does this mean for our finances? The £32m balance at 1 Jan is likely to get us through to the financial year-end, plus or minus a couple of million either way.  By 30 June, season ticket money will be in, but there is no way of knowing how well tickets will sell compared to previous seasons (we’ll not sell more, clearly).

Until lockdown is over, there will be close to nothing from stadium operations (£7.6m last season) and retail (£12.9m last season).  The SPFL hopes to have fans attend games by October (the Championship business plan is counting on it), but we are looking at July, August and September with little income from many revenue streams.  Next season’s finances are down to season ticket sales, Uefa qualification and a late bump from 10-in-a-row merchandise during what is likely to be a recession.

Champions League qualification brought media rights income to £33.9m in season 2017-18, the following season this dropped to (a still impressive) £15.7m for the Europa League campaign (other Euro revenues, like ticket sales, are not included in these figures).

If we qualify for the Champions League next season, I expect we will break-even. Progress through the Europa group stage and we will make a sizeable loss and a return to debt.  Failure to reach the Europa League group stage would see us return a larger loss than at any time in our history by a huge margin.

Having spent this week looking at our finances and those of others in the Premiership, there are lots of unknowns ahead and just one certainty.  Uefa are expected to confirm qualification competitions will be a single game each round, drawn randomly, home or away.  Celtic should be seeds all the way through, but that advantage is lessened by an expectation of some away legs.  Luck of the draw will never be more important.

We are going to win the league; I could not be more sure of this.  I have not touched on Newco’s finances here but if you are interested, you can read back what we discussed in February.  We might have problems to manage but they are a busted flush.  It will all play out in the months ahead.

The season ahead could return the largest loss in the next 50 years of Celtic history. If so, we will need to work our way back, which will not be done overnight.  Even the ‘sell to England’ strategy is not likely to be effective, as transfer fees are likely to suffer due to the crisis.  Oh, and I think we need players for several positions, at least as cover.

When you look at Partick Thistle and others throughout the world, these are First World Problems.  We have 10 to focus on, but just as winning nine-in-a-row did not happen as we wanted, the journey between here and next May is likely to be a rocky road.

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  1. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    I spoke to Oldtim67 this morning and he is in fine fettle


    Problems accessing the blog as most of us do

  2. carpetcrawler on

    A line you used to finish a Huns blog a few years ago that resonates with me today like it did then…………”things will never ever be the same again”.

  3. The Battered Bunnet on

    Good, well grounded piece, Paul. There will be carnage across the game in the coming months. What it all looks like this tie next year is down to imagination.

  4. Let’s hope the fixture list gives teams an equal amount of home and away games through the first quarter of the season – otherwise some clubs will accrue a sporting and a financial advantage.

  5. The squad needs a left-winger and a goalkeeper as a priority. Beyond that… our focus should be on maintaining our squad from last season.



    Maybe even keep the likes of Ralston around to backfill the squad for a season.

  6. If we’re looking at a possible return to the red on the back of covid – they must be looking at insolvency. Which means their behaviour is utterly baffling.

  7. A hugely sobering read.


    Thanks Paul for putting the ‘facts and data’ evidence onto the gut feeling I’ve had on this from the off.



    And this is why I will renew both tickets for next season, regardless of how many games are played, and whether or not I can see them in person.



    HH JG

  8. Great article Paul67. Shines a light on how the recent debate on what the club can do for fans finances is not an easy one to solve. We have a shortfall, we need everyone who can, doing their bit (kits, merchandise, etc), the recruitment team getting us vfm, the CEO and his team creating more alternative revenue lines and the team and manager hitting the football targets of ECL qualification….& TIAR of course :)



    Squeaky bum time here we come….

  9. fourstonecoppi on

    Tell you what next season i can’t start a comment with ‘just in from the game’. It’ll be right thats me aff the couch”!……….😂

  10. “Until lockdown is over, there will be close to nothing from stadium operations (£7.6m last season) and retail (£12.9m last season). ”



    Surely there will be some retail going on. People can still shop online.



    There will be a new kit launch soon. Let’s hope fans buy direct rather than Sports Direct or JD Sports…

  11. ….☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️..
























  12. Richie #TeamOscarForever on



    I spoke to Oldtim67 this morning and he is in fine fettle


    Problems accessing the blog as most of us do



    Good to hear

  13. Very sobering read. For reasons not obvious to me Celtic’s expenses have ballooned in the 9iar period, there will be stubborn costs in there that will persist.



    For Rangers on the other hand it will be business as usual. Since the Dave King era, they have been in a constant state of crisis, running hand to mouth, cutting costs to the bone.



    The crisis in Scottish Football as a result of the pandemic may well be an equaliser.



    2017/18 saw Celtic revenue three times the size of Rangers, 2018/19 saw Celtic revenue twice the size of Rangers.



    We will see what 2019/20 brings but with Rangers still in Europe and Celtic’s revenue decimated I expect the old firm rivals will be closer.



    Now what 2020/21 offers who knows what but we are in the lap of the Gods. Imagine Celtic failing to get into a European competition and Rangers having another good run – financial equality looks like a reality.



    It was my opinion we had a poor transfer window last summer, I think the state of the current squad makes my point valid.



    If we need to sell some “stars” to break even we may find ourselves with the poorest squad in a couple of decades.



    It’s all shoulders to the wheel but I hope that after this season has gone and there is a return to some sort of normalcy, Celtic have a root and branch strategic review to ensure our Club takes it’s proper place in European football.



    Hail Hail

  14. Paul67



    Win Ten in a row despite Covid 19.



    No excuses for lack of trying that includes strengthening an already good squad, from which we’ve released players.



    They can’t say they didn’t account for Covid 19 because inadvertently they did, the bank balance is questioned non stop .



    ST’s will sell out, despite the moans and groans, if they don’t there’s the waiting list isn’t there?




  15. !!BADA BING!! on 16TH JUNE 2020 1:13 PM



    Never been cheaper to borrow money…




    Unless it’s from Close Brothers 🤭

  16. Informative but concerning article Paul , and well summed up by Jamesgang as a “hugely sobering read”.



    It is most certainly that.



    If we can afford it, we have to do our bit for the cause. I was not happy with the way the club handled the “refund” issue, and I was also not happy with the absence of some sort of small gesture – for example a discount for multiple season ticket holders in 1 household ….would not have to be significant but would have helped to win over disgruntled hearts & minds.



    But all that said……it is clear that the club will need our financial support in a way not seen since the Bunnet’s Share Issue in the mid 90s.



    So me and my son are coming out of our wee moral high ground huffs and we’re renewing our season tickets today.



    I’ve been a season ticket holder since ’92 so there was no way I was not renewing anyway but I would say that reflecting on the financial uncertainty ahead for the club is a sobering motivator for renewal.



    As Bournesouprecipe would say…….HWG TIAR

  17. CHAIRBHOY on 16TH JUNE 2020 1:31 PM


    “It was my opinion we had a poor transfer window last summer, I think the state of the current squad makes my point valid.”


    Jullien, Forster, Elyounoussi, Elhamed, Frimpong and Taylor would disagree with you.


    The primary focus of last years window was for the 19/20 season. The league was done, league cup won and the squad still with a shot at the treble. Overall, we had a good European season as well.


    “The current state of the squad” is misleading. We are in the middle of a global pandemic and unprecedented circumstances. The squad will be adjusted when the transfer window has opened.


    “We will see what 2019/20 brings but with Rangers still in Europe and Celtic’s revenue decimated I expect the old firm rivals will be closer.”


    They managed to go one round further than Celtic in the Europa League. I don’t expect the difference to be monumental.


    Are you suggested that the loss-making club is better placed to deal with this pandemic than the club with cash reserves?


    You can talk them up all you’d like but they are still the second-rate team in Glasgow. They will have an inferior squad payed significantly lower than ours.


    Going for our 10th league title, 4th consecutive treble, 34 games unbeaten in the cups and topping a group with Lazio. But only a couple of players away from our worst squad in 20 years?

  18. When fixtures are released there will be an early home game in August (BCD) against them as the likelihood of fans being back for the new year game

  19. Remember the Huns took in around 3 million from the Europa game that should never have been played.A scandal that has hardly ever been mentioned.




    P67 seems to think our £30 million cash reserve will disappear so I’ve no idea how Sevco finance their operations while making good on the wage deferrals. Where are they getting the £20-30 million ?

  21. I am fortunate to be in the position to be able to afford to renew my season ticket and also not require to apply for a refund although I have attempted to download the refund form from the Club website without success.



    In the same spirit as described by Jamesgang above, I sent off my form yesterday. I have decided, however, that I will not attend another football match until a vaccine has been discovered. It’s a tough, personal decision for each of us but I hope that everyone who can will renew in order to keep the Club fully operational and to help the effort towards TIAR.



    Hail! Hail!

  22. Pingback: Uefa meeting, Celtic finances Paul67 - Celtic FC News Aggregation

  23. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    BSR 1.54pm – I’m on it for 2 tickets.



    Like Jamesgang, I’ll buy them if offered even though there’s no guarantee I’ll see a game in person.

  24. PS …..seeing the posts with names of the great people I’ve met on here reinforces my belief that pandemics are pure shite and that I can’t wait to see you mad bams as soon as we can.I might finally manage to beat OldTim in the race to the bar!



    Stay safe



    hh jg

  25. Good article Paul.


    I don’t understand why Celtic cannot extend the virtual season ticket scheme to non season ticket holders, many of whom don’t have a season ticket as they cannot access Celtic Park.


    Surely if the technology is available to provide us season ticket holders with the games on our tv, then the club could sell pay per view games to non ST holders?




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