Ajax will have massive financial problems if games will have to be played without supporters for a long period of time, Freek Jansen of het Algemeen Dagblad writes.
It’s no secret that Ajax increased the expenditures immensely in the last few seasons; the salary cap was abolished and expensive signings were made. All in an attempt to structurally join the elite of Europe. The Coronavirus has, however, crashed those plans. The exact scale of the damages is not yet known, but Ajax will be hit hard.
The call for an emergency fund and extra money for the smaller clubs continuously points towards the top clubs, especially Ajax. It is a logical but at the same time short-sighted expectation. Ajax has ample equity, but that is not an amount the club can just cough up. Only part of it is cash, most of it is in buildings and attracted players. Anyone who zooms in on the financial situation, linking the recent annual report to the income from playing with the public, also foresees financial disaster for the reigning national champion.
Experts proclaim that it could take more than a year before the fans could come to the stadiums again. As long as football takes place without the fans, Ajax will take hit after hit. Over an entire season, this scenario means an estimated loss of about 60 million euros (on a budget of 110 million). No fans means, among other things, no income from business seats (14 million), season tickets (13 million), single tickets (7 million), and European receipts (17 million).
Ajax has, relative to the rest of the Eredivisie, huge sponsor deals that are worth 34 million per season and a lot of revenue via the merchandise, but these revenues won’t be enough to cover the expenses by far. This current season, which included the group stage of the Champions League and one round of Europa League, Ajax already turned a loss. With the projected loss on top of that, Ajax will have to do everything it can to stay afloat, let alone serve as a sugar daddy for other ailing clubs in the Netherlands.
The big losses will continue to affect the strength on the pitch. Since the transfer market is also collapsing, the top clubs, with Ajax at the forefront, will derive much less transfer revenue from departing players. A realistic scenario is halving the available budget.