By Joanne Bladd
Abu Dhabi-owned club to scale back spending on players; results show sponsorship, income up.
Premier League football club Manchester City is to scale back spending on players after announcing a pre-tax loss of £121.3m ($192m) last season, the second-highest loss of any Premier club on record.
The club, which was bought in 2008 by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, booked losses of £121.3m in the 12 months to May 31, with a wage bill that eclipsed its turnover.
Staff costs alone accounted for £133.3m, the annual reports showed, comprising more than half City’s £251.2m of operating expenses and surpassing the £125.1m of income.
At £121.3m, City’s is the second largest loss on record in the Premier League’s history, eclipsed only by Chelsea. The club lost £141m in the 2004-5 fiscal year, following its takeover by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich.
However, City said its transfer market splurge was unlikely to be repeated again.
“It is safe to say that player acquisitions on the scale we have seen in recent transfer windows will no longer be required in the years ahead now that we have such a deep and competitive squad,” chief executive Garry Cook said in a statement.
The annual report did reflect the beginning of a commercial turnaround for the club. In Sheikh Mansour’s first full year of ownership, City recorded a 45 percent rise in earnings, from £87m in 2008–09 to £125m, a nearly 400 percent hike in sponsorship deals to £32.4m and an 18.6 percent increase in ticketing revenue.
Sheikh Mansour is estimated to have spent up to £500m across City’s operations, since taking over the club two years ago. Around £300m has been spent on big name signings, recruiting players such as Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, and David Silva.
In a letter accompanying the annual report, Sheikh Mansour said that his aim is to develop City into "one of the most successful clubs on and off the pitch, but to do so without losing any of the characteristics that make it so special".