Premier League clubs lose £392m
• Manchester City’s £197m loss the biggest in football history
• In graphics: the Prem ier League money game
The Premier League’s 20 clubs collectively made a loss of £392m last year, after spending all of their record £2.2bn income. Of the clubs which were in the Premier League in 2010‑11, the year of most clubs’ latest published accounts, only five, 25%, made a profit, £71m in total. Of the other clubs, 14 made losses, totalling £463.4m. Manchester City, in the third year since Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi bought the club and began to pour in money to acquire a team capable of winning the Premier League, lost £197m, the greatest financial loss in the history of football.
Chelsea lost the next highest amount, £68m, bankrolled by their owner, the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who loaned £94m into the club during 2010‑11. Liverpool, documenting the first eight months of ownership by John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, lost £49m.
Birmingham City, now in the Championship, have failed to file their accounts f or 2010‑11, which were statutorily due on 31 December, almost five months ago. The club’s parent company, Birmingham International Holdings, registered on the Hong Kong stock exchange, has not yet published its own accounts, and Carson Yeung, who led the takeover of the club in 2009, is awaiting trial on money-laundering charges, which he denies.
The clubs’ combined turnover of £2.2bn is partly the result of the first year of the Premier League’s 2010‑13 TV deals, in which a record £1.5bn was earned from overseas broadcasters. The financial figures portray a league of fierce sporting competition which relentlessly forces up players’ wages. In total, £1.5bn was spent on wages by the 20 clubs in 2011 (including Birmingham’s £38m wage bill in 2009‑10). That accounted for 69% of the clubs’ total income, slightly up from the 68% of income the clubs spent in 2009‑10 on wages.
The largest profit was recorded by Newcastle United, in their first season ba ck in the Premier League since relegation in 2009. The accounts were published before last summer’s transfer spending, swollen by the £35m sale to Liverpool of the striker Andy Carroll, which netted £33m profit. Manchester United, despite spending £50m in interest on the debts loaded on to the club by United’s owners, the Glazer family, won the championship having spent less on wages, at £153m, than Chelsea and City, and still made a profit of £12m.
Liverpool, by contrast, made an operating loss of £90m. Had they not recorded a profit of £43m for the sale of players, including £50m from Chelsea for Fernando Torres (the money spent on buying players, such as Carroll, is accounted for more gradually), Liverpool would have stated a much greater overall loss than the £49m final figure.
Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the league which this season celebrated 20 years since it was formed by a breakaway of the old Football League First Division clubs, has rejected introducing a form of “financial fair play”. Such rules, designed to make clubs break even rather than rack up losses, whether bankrolled by an owner or not, have been agreed by Uefa for its competitions and, more recently, by the Football League.
In the Premier League, clubs playing in Uefa’s Champions League or Europa League must comply with financial fair play over this year and next. Even the two which are lavishly backed, Chelsea and City, have stated they want to move towards breaking even. Lower down, most clubs make losses in the effort to stay up. The Wigan Athletic owner, Dave Whelan, who wrote off £48m in loans to the club last August, said that financial fair play “can only be a good thing … for football in general to ensure that debt is maintained at reasonable and sustainable levels”. Read More [cate