England’s Euro 2016 campaign may have been a disappointment but the Football Association made a record amount of money in the 2015/16 season, allowing it to invest £125million in the domestic game.
The governing body has released its accounts for the year to July 31, 2016, and they once again highlight the resilience of the national team’s brand and the FA’s commercial strength.
Having lost £9million in 2015, the FA made a £7million profit after tax last year, with turnover up £52million to £370million.
These positive figures were partly a result of 2015/16 being a tournament year for the men’s national team, which means extra marketing and sponsorship revenue, and partly because of the FA’s continuing efforts to cut costs – job cuts and refinancing the debt on St George’s Park and Wembley helped save more than £25million.
In a press release, FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: “We are delighted to be in such strong financial health. The FA is For All and this allows us to invest even more money than ever before back into every level of our national game.
“The FA is a not-for-profit organisation and focus is on investment for the future of the game. Last year we made very good progress.
“The most significant areas of investment were contributions to the County FAs, coaching and participation, FA Cup distributions, supporting all 24 England teams, plus key investment into grassroots facilities, such as the first ever Parklife hub in Sheffield.
“At the end of 2016 we announced key commercial deals, including the international broadcast rights for the Emirates FA Cup and the new 12-year deal with Nike, which means the FA is extremely well positioned to support English football for the foreseeable future.”
Those two deals – the overseas TV rights for the FA Cup and Nike’s kit contract – will be worth almost £170million a year to the FA but they do not kick in until 2018. Last year’s accounts, however, were boosted by the first year of Emirates’ sponsorship of the FA Cup, which is worth £10million a season.
Broadcasting deals remain the FA’s most important revenue stream but Wembley, which has its own sponsor in EE, also hosted a record number of events last year, with NFL and Rugby World Cup matches supplementing the usual calendar of England games and concerts.
The national stadium’s revenues should grow considerably in the future, too, as the FA has just applied to host more events every year at its full 90,000-seat capacity and is still in talks with Chelsea and Spurs about housing them while they redevelop their grounds.
There have been concerns in the past about the renewal of the Club Wembley debenture seats – 17,500 premium seats on 10-year contracts – this year but Press Association Sport understands the FA is relatively relaxed about this process now.
It also took £6.5million off its payroll last year and refinanced its debt to save £11.4million in interest payments.
It would be churlish to say these financial results are not encouraging, or to dismiss them as irrelevant, but nobody at the FA will pretend they are a cause for huge celebration either, as the governing body knows its key performance indicator is the men’s national team. No amount of black ink can make up for ignominy of the tepid displays at Euro 2016 that culminated with defeat to Iceland.
That cost Roy Hodgson his job as manager, with the FA’s embarrassment then compounded when his successor Sam Allardyce was forced to step down in September after just one game in charge when he was caught making inappropriate remarks by a Daily Telegraph undercover sting.
But the travails of the England manager are not the only concern facing the FA at present. It is under mounting pressure from the government to reform its governance structure, with sports minister Tracey Crouch threatening to give millions in public funding for grassroots development to somebody else.
And the FA is also well aware of its potential liability to compensation claims resulting from the game’s historic child sex abuse scandal and the Hillsborough disaster.