Manchester City’s losses pass US$300 mil. on lavish spending


AP

MANCHESTER, England–Manchester City’s losses soared to nearly 200 million pounds (US$315 million) in the latest financial year amid a lavish spending spree that helped the club end a 35-year trophy drought and qualify for the lucrative Champions League for the first time. Figures released Friday showed the northwest club had net operating losses of 160.5 million pounds (US$253 million), with the figure rising to 194.9 million pounds by adding on “additional exceptional charges” of 34.4 million pounds. Bankrolled by Abu Dhabi billionaire Sheikh Mansour, City spent heavily last year on improving its squad with world-class players such as David Silva and Yaya Toure and was rewarded by winning the FA Cup — its first major piece of silverware since 1976. Roberto Mancini’s team also finished third in the league to reach this season’s Champions League, which helped entice the likes of Argentina striker Sergio Aguero and France midfielder Samir Nasri in a further outlay of 74 million pounds in the offseason. City leads the league by five points after 11 matches as it looks to claim a first English title in 43 years. “The result is consistent with the guidance … that losses would peak in the 2010-11 financial year, as a result of the accelerated investment program that the club undertook between 2008 and 2011,” the club said in a statement. In view of UEFA’s financial fair play regulations, which came into operation in July, City’s chief operating officer Graham Wallace said: “Our losses … will not be repeated on this scale in the future.” Under those regulations, clubs face being barred from the Champions League and Europa League if they cannot break even on soccer-related business. City’s overall turnover was 153.2 million pounds and commercial revenue was up almost 50 percent to 48.5 million pounds. TV rights rose 27.4 percent to 68.8 million pounds. In the current financial year, which started on June 1, City has began its Champions League campaign — it is second in a group that also includes Germany’s Bayern Munich and Italy’s Napoli with two matches remaining — and agreed a 10-year deal with Etihad Airlines to sponsor the club’s stadium. It was widely reported in the British media that City will earn around 40 million pounds per year from the stadium deal. Etihad already has its name on City’s shirts. “We should not underestimate the club’s other major achievements in terms of its continued commercial performance, groundbreaking partnership initiatives, expanding contribution to the community, and independent recognition for the quality of our facilities and match day offerings,” Chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak said.