Sunderland AFC react after announcing significant £11.7m loss for 2020/21 campaign in latest set of revealing accounts

Sunderland AFC have announced that they made an operating loss of £11.7 million across the 2020/21 campaign.

By Phil Smith
Friday, 29th April 2022, 12:09 pm

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The significant losses reflected the impact of games being behind closed doors, with matchday revenue understandably plummeting as a result.

It also showed the club’s ongoing financial challenges in League One, as television and media revenue also dropped significantly as the period of parachute payments from the Premier League ended.

Together, those two factors combined as the club’s overall turnover dropped £18.4 million from the previous season.

Playing behind closed doors took a significant toll on Sunderland's finances last season

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The period in question reflects the first months following Kyril Louis-Dreyfus’ arrival at the club, the chairman taking a 41% stake coupled with governance control.

In the notes preceding the accounts, it is said that £2.2 million was injected by shareholders. It is added than in the period since, shareholders have injected a further £6.5 million.

As a result of playing behind closed doors during the regular season, which ended with the club losing to Lincoln City in the play-off semi finals in front of 10,000 fans, matchday revenue declined from £5,658,000 to £1,222,000 across the season.

Most significant was the decline in television and media revenue, which dropped from £17,195,000 in the 2019/20 season to £5,378,000.

The wage bill fell again, now standing at £11,864,000 for the club as a whole (including all staff and directors). In the previous set of accounts, it stood at £14,504,000.

The total pay for directors across the campaign was £580,854 including £295,783 relating to compensation for loss of office. The accounts also show that the club is indebted to its shareholders to a sum of £2,150,000, though the notes add that this will be converted to equity ‘in due course’.

The strategic report reads: “First and foremost, the Board want to thank all our supporters for their ongoing support and encouragement.

"The period during the Covid-19 pandemic, and especially the time without supporters inside stadia, was especially challenging for all associated with Sunderland AFC, including staff and supporters.

"However, the Board remain collectively committed to ensuring the Club achieves promotion to the Championship and ultimately the Premier League – and all stakeholders share the same objective…

"Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has led the Club to embark on a strategy to create a sustainable business whilst aiming to return the Club back to the Championship and ultimately the Premier League. It is recognised that after several years of less-than-optimal performance, including two relegations and a failure to return to the second tier, this requires a

long-term project.

“The focus since February 2021 has been on developing the senior football management team and its support staff.

“A total of four senior football staff have been appointed to lead the creation of an Academy that is intended to nurture local talent, and young players from further afield, to achieve their first-team ambitions. We have already added and will continue to add further value to the playing squad.

“In the six months since February 2021, the Club invested in projects across all its venues, including structural steelwork, painting, a new fire panel and emergency lighting in the stadium, all of which helped to ensure the Club complied with the requirements of the safety certificate.

“A total of £1.8m has been invested directly into the infrastructure of the football club and further investment is planned.”