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Brighton and Hove Albion posts losses of £14.7m
Brighton and Hove Albion has posted a £14.7million loss for last season – up from an £8.6m deficit the previous year.
The club enjoyed a boost in total sales in 2012/13. But an increase in wages and transfer fees along with a fall in TV money has seen the overall losses at the club increase by more than £6m.
The board now faces a race against time to reduce this season’s losses to £8m or face new penalties brought in by the Financial Fair Play regulations (FFP).
Chief executive Paul Barber said: “This set of results shows the reality of football in the Championship in recent years and demonstrates the very high cost of being competitive – with no guarantee of promotion to the Premier League.
“We had the highest average crowd in the Football League last season and we continued to grow revenues we can control but in order to compete at the top end of the Championship, we had to once again rely on another considerable investment from our chairman Tony Bloom.”
The annual accounts, which were released this afternoon, are for the 2012/13 season – their second at the American Express Community Stadium.
There were positives with an overall increase in sales from £22.1m in 2011/12 to £23.3m last season.
There was also a slight increase in ticketing, commercial and retail sales with a boost from £13.8m to £14.3m.
This was expected with the increased capacity at home games. However, overall turnover at the club was pegged back by a huge rise in “football costs”.
The £20.9m bill, up from £14.8m the previous year, is largely from the increase in wages and transfer fees with the club looking to gain promotion to the Premier League.
A fall in money coming in for TV rights (£5.7m to £4.8m this season) along with £1.2m increase in administrative costs has also added to the clubs financial woes.
Describing the £14.7m loss as “a substantial amount of money”, Mr Barber added: “We shouldn’t underestimate how much money that is.
“And we shouldn’t underestimate the contribution that Tony Bloom has made not only to funding those loses but to previous loses.
“We have a responsibility not only to Tony but to the supporters to run the football club as efficiently as we can and reduce those loses as quickly as we can.
“The added incentive is that we now have a rule with FFP which says we have to.”
The FFP, which will be enforced for the first time this season, has been brought in by UEFA to encourage clubs to be more sustainable.
It states that Championship teams must run at an operating loss of no more than £8m or else face penalties.
Although the exact nature of the penalties is not yet known, they are expected to be in the way of fines and transfer restrictions.
Mr Barber told The Argus that reducing the clubs losses to £8m by the end of this season was “tough” but added he was “confident” they would achieve it.