BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: Business
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Market Data 
Your Money 
Business Basics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Monday, 24 September, 2001, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
Leeds United run into debt
Robbie Keane
Leeds have gone top of the premiership
Premiership club Leeds United made a loss last year, despite reaching the semi-final stage of the Champions League last season.

Leeds' European campaign helped the club's turnover rise by 65%, and its operating profit nearly triple to 10.1m.

But the cost of success was high, and after spending heavily on new players the club recorded a pre-tax loss of 7.6m against a profit of 1.24m the previous year.

The club's chairman also warned failure to qualify for the Champions League this season will hit profits.

European campaign

Last season, Leeds reached the semi-final stage of the competition, before being knocked out by Spanish club Valencia.

But the club's run in Europe proved extremely lucrative.

Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand cost Leeds 18m
Income from TV rights nearly doubled to 36.6m last year, with "the majority" of this increase down to the European campaign.

Despite the cup run, Leeds failed to qualify for the Champions League again this season and is instead competing in the Uefa cup.

The club admits that not being in Europe's main cup competition means it will suffer financially.

"The absence of Champions League football this season will inevitably have a short term impact on operating profit performance," said the club's chairman Peter Ridsdale in a statement.

"Rejoining the Champions League at the earliest opportunity, which is now achievable with a top-four league position, and participating therein on a regular basis, is our top priority," he added.

So far Leeds have made a promising start to the new season, and on Sunday beat Derby County 3-0 to go top of the English Premier League.

New players

The main reason why Leeds failed to make a profit was the club's spending on new players.

Expensive signings such as the defender Rio Ferdinand and striker Mark Viduka meant the club recorded a loss last year.

The club announced that it is restructuring the debts built up from buying new players through a 60m, 25 year bond which has been agreed with institutional investors.

"We now have stable long-term financing, additional revenue drivers, a brand that continues to grow and to attract ever more supporters and sponsors to us, and a strong team in a position to challenge credibly for the game's top honours," said Mr Ridsdale.

Shares in Leeds United remained unchanged at 10.25p following the release of the results.

Leeds Chairman Peter Ridsdale
"We've doubled the value of our squad "
See also:

18 Sep 01 | Business
Adidas buys slice of Bayern
15 Aug 01 | Business
Investing in soccer: A mug's game?
07 Aug 01 | Business
Euro football heading for bust?
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories