By: Hibernian Media on 15 Jun, 2020 17:28
Since the global pandemic hit the UK - wreaking havoc with our lives, our health and care systems, and our businesses – Hibernian supporters have been magnificent in their backing for the club.
Our support has been the silver lining on a cloudy horizon. In turn, we have sought at every turn to keep supporters informed as honestly as we are able to. With that in mind, it is now important to let supporters know that difficult choices must be considered to reduce costs to protect the future of Hibernian. We are today embarking on a process of consultation with our people over proposals to find cost reductions. This is no different from any other business in this economy, many of which have already taken steps to protect their future. We must all recognise that the club must be financially sustainable.
When we outlined our ambitious plans at our AGM a few months ago, no-one could have predicted that the healthy cash balance the club enjoyed at that time would be severely depleted a few months later as we faced this crisis and no revenue being generated from normal operations. The club has continued to meet its full liabilities, internally and externally, with some of these deferred but still due later in the year. This initial action was a vital step, allowing us breathing space to manage cashflow and, importantly, to engage with our staff.
With no clear end in sight and a full return to football in stadia full of supporters likely to be in 2021, there has been, and there will continue to be, a substantial and unsustainable strain on the Club’s finances. We forecast that our revenues will be halved in 2020-21 and we anticipate a significant loss for the current season that was cut short in March, despite the support shown by fans so far. That is the reality we face, and the continued uncertainty and restrictions mean our current cost structure is not sustainable.
Chairman Ronald Gordon said: “We’re all excited that football is returning - but it will be behind closed doors, with likely limited attendance as a next phase. That means we continue to endure limited revenue opportunities for the foreseeable future. Therefore, several initiatives, activities and services at our club need to be paused or scaled back until it is safe, permissible and financially prudent for us to resume activity.
“We must now focus our limited resources on our core business – and that is supporting our first team to deliver success on the pitch. That is what we are here to do. This scaling back will have an impact on our people, and we enter into a period of consultation with them to discuss the potential impact on them. I would like to thank the contribution and efforts of all of our staff during this difficult time.
“I would also like to thank our supporters who, recognising the threat to the club, have responded. Around 8500 Season Tickets for next season have sold so far, with more selling each day despite fans knowing that the timing and shape of next season is far from clear at this stage. Our “Thank You NHS” home shirt was launched to national acclaim and record sales. And with the 2019-20 season called early, with four home matches not played, less than 15 per cent of season ticket holders have requested a refund.
“We will get through this by all working together. Supporters, staff, management and players have all played their part so far, and I believe will continue to do so.”
Monies raised through the sale of season tickets for 2020-21 will help fund next season’s campaign. We welcome the announcement of a framework agreed between the SPFL and Sky which should see the top-flight of Scottish football resume in August.
With football facing a “behind closed doors” start to the season, the new framework means those who have already purchased season tickets for season 2020/21 now know they are guaranteed to see all home matches live until entry to stadiums returns.
Hibernian will soon announce full details of our package, which is being designed to give our season ticket holders the best possible value and a unique, exciting and enjoyable Hibernian matchday experience.
Leeann Dempster, Chief Executive, said: “I would add my thanks to Ron’s for the professionalism shown by our staff throughout this crisis.
“From the start, in light of the uncertainty around what shape next season will ultimately take, we have sought to ensure our supporters have the fullest understanding of the situation before us, and that includes what your ticket will secure for you.
“Any supporter who cannot commit to travel this difficult journey with us will be treated fairly, with respect, and with our understanding, but we hope and believe you will want to be with us every step of the way.
“We understand not everyone is able to help as they might like in these difficult times, however if you can help, we thank you for it.”