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Friday, 8 March, 2002, 17:53 GMT
Leeds United seeks transfer income
Robbie Fowler
Robbie Fowler cost Leeds 11m
Leeds United's chairman Peter Ridsdale has indicated that the Premiership club will have start selling players before new ones can be brought in.


We would expect a net income from transfers this coming summer

Peter Ridsdale, Leeds United chairman
He made the comments as Leeds unveiled a pre-tax loss of 13.8m for the final six months of last year.

The club said its finances were hit by the absence of Champions League football - this season the club played in the less lucrative UEFA Cup competition.

"Clearly re-qualification for European competition next season is a significant element of the plan," Mr Ridsdale said.

Summer sales

The 11m signing of Robbie Fowler from Liverpool contributed to a loss of over 9m on player trading during the six month period.

Leeds have spent heavily on players such as Rio Ferdinand and Robbie Keane over the past two seasons, but Mr Ridsdale said the club would now be tightening its purse strings.

"We would expect a net income from transfers this coming summer," he said in a statement.

How much will have to be raised depends on which European competition Leeds qualifies for.

"The board will trade assets as required by the nature of the competition reached in order to ensure that the cost base of the business is maintained at a sustainable level."

Leeds United made an operating loss before player trading of 2.4m, compared with a profit of 6.2m in the same period the previous year.

Revenue dipped to 38.3m in the six months to the end of December from 41m in 2000.

Europe the key

Mr Ridsdale stressed the importance of Leeds winning entry into European competition next season.

"The long-term future of football revenues will see the dominant clubs within Europe benefiting to the potential detriment of the rest," he warned.

"TV revenues and European wide competitions will allow the top five or six clubs within the UK to continue to grow their brands and revenues".

"Our priority for the remainder of this season will be to qualify once more for a European competition with our ultimate objective being once again qualifying for the Champions League."

Leeds need to finish in the top four of the Premier League to qualify for the Champions League next season.

At the moment Leeds lie in fifth position, seven points behind fourth placed Newcastle United.

The club said if it failed to get into the Champions League "qualification for next season's UEFA Cup competition looks highly achievable."

Shares in the club closed 0.25p lower at 7.25p.

The shares hit an all-time closing high of 37p two weeks after flotation in March 1997.

See also:

24 Sep 01 | Business
Leeds United run into debt
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?
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