Italy's Juventus reports record 2020-21 loss on coronavirus hit

FILE PHOTO: Juventus supporters show their tattoos of the club's logo at their Italian Serie A soccer match against Palermo at the Juventus stadium in Turin May 5, 2013. REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino

MILAN (Reuters) - Net loss at Juventus more than doubled in its 2020-21 financial year to 209.9 million euros ($247 million), its highest on record, as revenue plummeted due to closed-door matches amid the coronavirus crisis, the soccer club said.

In a statement on Friday, Italy's Juventus added it would finish the 2021-22 financial year, which will still be heavily affected by the pandemic, with a "significant loss".

"The group's economic performance is expected to improve significantly starting from the 2022-23 financial year," the club said.

Controlled by Exor, the holding company of the Agnelli family, Juventus reported a 16% revenue fall to 480.7 million euros in the twelve months ending June 30.

Operating costs at the Turin-based club rose to 449.3 million euros compared with 414.1 million, while financial debt stood rose marginally to 389.2 million euros from 385.2 million euros the previous year.

Last month Juventus agreed to sell 36-year old soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo to European rivals Manchester United, as part of an effort to curb costs and rejuvenate its squad.

Ronaldo's departure capped a tumultous year for Juventus, which promoted a failed attempt to set a breakaway Super league with other top European clubs.

The Seria A club said on Friday that for the moment it was impossible to predict the outcome of the Super League project, but it remained confident of its legitimacy.

Juventus had signed Ronaldo in 2018 from Real Madrid, in a push to reduce a revenue gap with other European top clubs and support the expansion of its brand on global scale.

But as the club failed to achieve any glory in Europe and last year ended a nine year Serie A dominance, the coronavirus crisis jeopardised Juventus's business plans, putting the club's finances under stress and prompting an up to 400 million euro cash call.

($1 = 0.8490 euros)

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina, editing by Louise Heavens)

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