Juventus defends ESL after announcing big losses

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic saw income plummet for the Serie A club during the 2020-2021 financial year, Juventus announced on Saturday (AEST).

The club had covered the losses with its share premium reserve, meaning the its overall net debt stood at €389.2 million ($625.5 million), €4 million ($6.43 million) more than at the end of the previous year.

The Turin club had reported annual losses of €89.7 million ($144.2 million) for 2019-2020, and estimated "direct and indirect adverse effects" of the pandemic from March 2020 to June 2022 to amount to €320 million ($514.3 million), based on an assumption that economic normality would steadily resume.

Juventus, which expects to post " a significant loss" for 2021-2022, revealed the club's board had "decided to start the process for a capital increase of up to €400 million ($643 million), including any share premium, to be offered to the company’s shareholders".

Since the end of the last financial year, Juventus has allowed star forward Cristiano Ronaldo to leave the club for Manchester United, collecting a transfer fee and saving significant sums on his salary.

Together with Barcelona and Real Madrid, Juventus has continued to back proposals for the European Super League, despite widespread opposition to the scheme when it was revealed in April.

Where most clubs backed away from the project within days amid a wave of criticism, including the six English Premier League clubs involved, Juventus remains apparently keen for it to get off the ground.

Club chairman Andrea Agnelli was a prime figure behind bringing the concept together and Juventus included a section in its financial statement, in which it stood by its belief in the "legitimacy" of such a league.

The club described the Super League as an "alternative to the UEFA competitions but not to national leagues and cups".

The Juventus statement read: "As at today, it is not possible to predict with certainty the outcome and future development of the Super League project, of the legitimacy of which Juventus remains confident."