Cyprus football clubs lost a combined €23 mln in 2019 as big spenders failed to yield profits as 13 out of the 14 teams playing in next season’s First Division closed their books in the red.
Only Nea Salamina was able to record a profit of €358,000 on a club budget of around €800,000.
Cypriot teams strive to acquire one of four tickets to a major European tournament, namely the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League which can generate income of up to €20 mln.
However, the Cyprus Football Association’s latest report on club finances has revealed that all but one team, have recorded losses from a few hundred thousand, to €6.6 €mln.
The total amount of losses recorded in 2019 reached €22.98 mln.
The biggest losers were ‘champions’ Omonia FC with staggering losses of €6,585,981, followed by Paphos FC with €5,516,352 and Apollon Limassol’s €4,246,440.
Omonia FC was taken over by New York-based millionaire Stavros Papastavrou in 2018, with big hopes of reviving the club’s former glory.
After a failed 2018-19 campaign, Papastavrou’s side managed to obtain a ticket for the Champions League after finishing top when the season ended abruptly due to COVID-19.
Success in Europe could see Omonia make a profit for the first time in years.
The team’s budget alone is believed to have been some €6 mln.
Topflight Anorthosis Famagusta recorded losses of €2,566,938 and AEL Limassol €1,909,583.
Anorthosis had also injected serious cash into its 2019-20 campaign, with a budget of €4 to €5 mln.
APOEL FC recorded the smallest losses as they were just €147,383 in the red.
However, APOEL, as last season’s champions, had an income of €20 mln, mainly from its performances in the Champions League and the Europa League.
APOEL had reached the play-off stages of the Champions League, a step before the group stage where the club was knocked out by Ajax.
APOEL then moved on to the Group Stage of UEFA’s less profitable Europa League, where the club finished the group second to Spain’s Sevilla FC.
As a result, the club advanced to the last-32 knockout phase, where the Nicosia team was knocked out by Swiss Basel FC.
In comments to the Financial Mirror, CFA’s spokesperson Constantinos Shiamboulis said the coronavirus outbreak gave clubs another nasty shock, as it cost them millions in damages, but it was not the only reason for clubs being in the red.
“Clubs have lost out on a few million due to the outbreak, as they lost their income from ticket sales, TV rights and sponsorships.
However, the coronavirus is just one of the reasons why clubs failed to balance their books,” said Shiamboulis.
The top-flight football season was disrupted on 15 March with 45 fixtures to be played for the championship and five for the cup.
The crisis will see clubs lose out on proceeds from these games, with each match expected to see between 5-12,000 fans, while payments for TV rights have been put on hold.
Tickets for Cyprus games range from €10 to €20.
When this season’s championship was abruptly brought to an end due to the coronavirus outbreak Omonia FC were top.
They were awarded the Champions League spot, while Anorthosis, Apollon and APOEL were given the three Europa League births.
Team losses for 2019
Omonia FC €6,585,981
Paphos FC €5,516,352
AEL Limassol €1,909,583
AEK Larnaca €816,316
APOEL FC €147,383
Doxa FC €120,283
Profits for 2019
Nea Salamina €358,001