Dunfermline Athletic

Football clubs feel the pinch

Author: Niall Shaw Date: Thursday, 12th Sep 2002

Scotland`s Premier League football clubs are still struggling to tackle the financial slump which has gripped the game.

A report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers highlighted how the 2000/01 season led to a record loss of 48m for the 12 clubs.

It revealed how St Mirren was the only club to make a profit before tax that season, a campaign which saw them relegated to the first division.

The study also showed how a third of the clubs - Dundee, Dunfermline Athletic, Hearts and Motherwell - had a statement of "fundamental uncertainty" in their audits.

The clubs` combined net debt rose from 55m to 132m, as a result of falling attendance as well as increasing wage costs.

The combined wage bill for the Bank of Scotland SPL rose from 89m to 101m.

Treble winners Celtic increased turnover by almost 10% - but saw its losses rise 5m to 11m.

Rangers reduced its losses from 25m to 17m but the club`s net debt rose to 52m.

David Glen, the report`s author, said clubs had overstretched themselves in their quest for success.

He said: "Since the season 1995/96 - the last time the Premier League made a combined profit - losses have risen to 48m and the total loss incurred during that period amounts to a staggering 137m.

"The answer is simple - wage costs. During that same period wage costs in the SPL have more than trebled from 30m to over 101m, whilst for a number of clubs the wage bill now exceeds their total income."

Mr Glen added: "There is so much emotion attached (to football) and its not like any other business which is measured by success in the profit and loss accounts.

"Clubs are measured by league positions and competitions that you have won."

The 10 clubs outwith the Old Firm in the SPL have already served notice of their intention to quit the league in two years` time.

The move came after the two Glasgow clubs blocked plans for the SPL`s own subscription-based television channel.

There has also been speculation on the future of the Old Firm, with the Glasgow clubs being linked to a move south to join the English Nationwide League.



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