SPORTS LAW AT THE CROSSROADS

Michael Keane helps ‘best of the rest’ Burnley to impressive £45m profit

By David Owen

April 4 – Burnley, the team from the Lancashire mill town, have reported an impressive pre-tax profit of £45.1 million for the 2017-18 season when the Clarets qualified for Europe for the first time in more than half a century.

The result compared with a profit of £27.3 million in 2016-17. Turnover for the year to end-June 2018 also climbed, by nearly 15% from £121.2 million to £139 million.

With costs on the increase, the improvement was mainly the consequence of player sales, notably defender Michael Keane’s £25 million move to Everton in July 2017.

These transfers produced a gain of £30.7 million, up from just £1.3 million the year before. This was even though the cash flow statement indicated that the club spent nearly £27 million more on “intangible fixed assets” than it received in 2017-18 – £41.4 million versus £14.6 million.

Operating profit was actually down by nearly half from 2016-17 levels, at £14.4 million against just under £26 million. This was explained chiefly by a £20 million jump in staff costs from £61.2 million to £81.6 million.

“The Premier League ‘wages league’ is one we are certainly not bottom of anymore,” noted Mike Garlick, chairman, saying the year-on-year jump was the result of “our determination to be more competitive in the market, coupled with increased bonuses for both players and coaching staff”.

The club’s seventh-place Premier League finish meant, according to Garlick, that it could “genuinely lay claim to being classed as ‘the best of the rest’”. He added: “In many ways we were the champions of the Premier League second tier.”

The Clarets have endured a more difficult season this time around, however, tumbling out of the Europa League in the play-off round, at the hands of Greece’s Olympiacos, and having still not secured their Premier League future for another year with just six games to play.

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