Manchester United's profits dip as player sales dry up

LONDON: Profits at Manchester United fell by a third at the half-year stage due to lower gains from player sales, but the Premier League club said they were well placed for the future both on and off the field. 

The world’s richest football club reported pre-tax profits for the six months to Jan 31 of £20.3mil (US$32.08mil), with the fall due largely to one-off profits on the sale of Jaap Stam to Lazio and Andy Cole to Blackburn in the previous reporting period. 

Operating profits, before player trading, rose to £31.3mil from £20.4mil, however, driven by United’s £300mil, 13-year partnership with American sportswear manufacturer Nike, which kicked last year. 

United, second in the Premier League and through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, said they were less exposed to the “financial uncertainties” facing other clubs. 

On Monday both Leeds United and Chelsea reported increased losses and debts. 

“The strength of the balance sheet and our diversified and highly visible revenue streams reduce the exposure of Manchester United to the financial uncertainties being suffered by some other clubs in the premiership and around Europe,” chairman Roy Gardner said in a statement. 

United, whose players include England captain David Beckham, club captain Roy Keane and Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, said the wage bill rose to £39.7mil in the half-year, or around 43 percent of turnover. 

Wages were expected to rise to around the self-imposed ceiling of 50 percent for the full year, however. 

The club, which has a global fanbase of about 54 million, said their strategy for the future was built on continued success on the pitch, developing the value of media rights, promoting the brand and turning more fans into customers. – Reuters 

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