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Page last updated at 13:25 GMT, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 14:25 UK

Profits on the up for SPL clubs

Scottish Premier League

The latest review of Scottish football finances has revealed an upturn in profits for SPL clubs.

The report by PricewaterhouseCoopers focuses on season 2006/2007 when eight out of the 12 clubs made a profit.

The healthier finances are being put down to an overall reduction in transfer fees and wages.

"The picture continues to look bright for Scottish football with many clubs now displaying shrewd business acumen," said PWC partner David Glen.

Overall, turnover increased by 3% and the clubs collectively generated profits of 3m - a dramatic turnaround from the previous season's combined losses of 9.4m.

Net gain on transfers increased by 4m to almost 19m. But wages also rose, with the Old Firm accounting for over half of the 100m total.

Celtic turned the most impressive profit, the sales of Stilian Petrov and Shaun Maloney and qualification to the last 16 of the Champions League contributing towards a surplus of more than 15m.

The club also enjoyed lucrative pre-season trips to Japan, Poland and North America.

Hibernian's finances also made impressive reading, due in part to the sales of Kevin Thomson and Scott Brown to Rangers and Celtic respectively.

Conversely, Edinburgh rivals Hearts made a loss of almost 13m, despite recording their largest home attendance in 33 years when they hosted Barcelona in a friendly at Murrayfield. During 2006/07, the Tynecastle club were burdened by a heavy wage bill of 12.5m.

St Mirren, who won promotion to Scotland's top flight in the previous season, witnessed a huge increase in crowds of 48% helping them achieve a large rise in turnover.

Dunfermline were relegated at the end of the 2006/07 season but still managed a large increase in turnover of 77%, partly as a result of a run to the Scottish Cup final.

Seven of the clubs reduced their debts with Falkirk and Inverness operating with no debt.

"The clubs demonstrated improved use of assets such as stadiums for corporate and hospitality events and strong strategies to tackle debt," added Glen.

The review does not take into account the current financial downturn, but Glen believes the progress made since 2006 should have prepared the SPL clubs for the changing climate.

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"While it is too early to predict the real impact of the credit crunch on Scottish football, this sounder financial footing, with reduced debt and more affordable wage structures, should help the majority of clubs to weather any financial storms as a result of a down-turn," Glen said.

"Potentially one of the biggest impacts in 2008/09 will not be a decline in ordinary supporters buying tickets - many are expected to continue juggling finances to ensure they don't miss any matches - but in the corporate sector where sponsorship and support is discretionary and may be cut back if budgets have to be prioritised or shareholders pile on pressure.

"This year's mantra is really 'steady as she goes,' with clubs finally consolidating their position, ensuring they are strong enough to enough to weather the economic turbulence felt in the UK and further afield, and developing strategies for growth in what is a tough marketplace."

Glen warned that club should not rest on their laurels, as there was still work to be done to safeguard the long-term future of the SPL.

"It's certainly going to be an interesting year ahead," he added.


see also
Inverness buoyant despite losses
26 Aug 08 |  Inverness CT


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