Liverpool make £50m loss but financial future looks positive
Turnover above £200m and debt levels reduced by owners - but what about Financial Fair Play?
LIVERPOOL have unveiled their latest accounts, which show that the club made a loss of almost £50m in the year up to May 2013, but also saw turnover exceed £200m for the first time.
The figures have elicited different responses among observers.
Liverpool FC managing director Ian Ayre proclaimed that the Reds had "embarked on a journey of footballing and financial transformation", according to the Liverpool Echo.
"With a hugely supportive ownership group, we have taken a measured approach to bring back financial stability to this great club by ensuring it is properly structured on and off the pitch," said Ayre.
The Echo points out that the Reds' debts were reduced by almost £20m last year and now stand at £45m. Since John W Henry and the Fenway Sports Group took over at Anfield in 2010 the clubs debts have been reduced by around £200m, adds the paper.
The figures "reflect the first season under manager Brendan Rodgers, when Liverpool were again without Champions League revenues, usually worth around £30m to a club," says the Echo.
The Times agrees. "The absence of Champions League football was once again apparent in Liverpool's accounts but despite [not] having access to that lucrative income source, Ian Ayre, the managing director, believes that the club are in good financial health and expects further improvements in the near future as the impact of recent commercial deals becomes apparent."
But not everyone is so bullish. The Daily Telegraph warns that the results "place in doubt the club's ability to conform with Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules".
Under the terms of FFP clubs must limit losses for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons to £37m, with a ban from European competitions the severest theoretical punishment, explained the Daily Mail last month.
But although Liverpool's combined losses over the last two seasons stand at £90m much of it can be exempted from the Uefa calculations, as at least one lawyer explained:
#LFC £90m loss for last 2 seasons, club for FFP can deduct stadium, youth dev, community & possibly pre-2010 wage costs to comply.
— Daniel Geey (@FootballLaw) March 3, 2014