An official of the soccer governing body, FIFA, Olli Rehn, said on Wednesday the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to cost club football $14 billion (about N5.4 trillion) this year.
Rehn, who heads the FIFA committee set up to tackle the effects of the pandemic, said the cost is around one-third of its value.
He added that FIFA, along with financial consultants, had estimated the club game to be worth between $40 billion and $45 billion worldwide.
He added that the figure was based on the current scenario, where football is slowly restarting after a three-month hiatus earlier this year.
But the FIFA official said it would be a “different ball game” if the pandemic did not let up.
“Football has been hit very hard by the coronavirus pandemic,” Rehn, a former European Union commissioner and now governor of the Bank of Finland, said.
“It has created plenty of turmoil at different levels with some professional clubs facing very serious difficulties.
“I’m also very concerned about youth academies and lower division clubs.”
Rehn said that football in South America had been especially hard hit, while Africa and Asia were also a concern.