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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 April, 2003, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Arsenal reveal losses
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
Wenger will have to watch his spending

Arsenal admit they may be forced to cut their wage bill after announcing pre-tax losses of 9.47m for the six months to 30 November.

The Premiership champions are already involved in or about to start contract negotiations with key players such as Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp.

But they stressed their determination to keep a tight grip on the wage bill as they attempt to fund their delayed new stadium project at the same time as challenging Manchester United on the field.

Gunners chairman Peter Hill-Wood said: "In our 2002 annual report, I referred to the control and potential future reduction of our player wage bill and this remains an objective.

"However, it is one we can only progress, in the light of market conditions, as new players arrive or existing contracts come up for renewal."

We have experienced a number of delays in the arrangements for our new stadium project
Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood

In the latest six-month interim results for Arsenal Holdings plc they announced an increase in group turnover of 28.5% to 43.6m and a slight rise in group operating profits to 1m.

However, net borrowing was significantly up at 28.3m as a result of a 9.4m deficit on transfer dealings and significant investment in the proposed new stadium.

Arsenal recently announced their new 400m stadium at Ashburton Grove would not be ready for the start of the 2005-06 season as planned, but Hill-Wood said it remains a vital part of their future.

"We have experienced a number of delays in the arrangements for our new stadium project in recent months across a range of issues," he added.

"This has not been entirely unexpected given the complexity of the project.

"But we are actively progressing all aspects of the project and continue to be fully committed to Ashburton Grove, with the objective of delivering a stadium opening at the earliest possible date."





ARSENAL

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