Scottish Premiership clubs confident of profits

Tynecastle Stadium.   Picture: Greg Macvean
Tynecastle Stadium. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Football clubs in Scotland’s top league have learned lessons from recent financial problems and are confident of making profits this season, according to a survey.

Hearts and Dunfermline were placed in administration this year, following the liquidation of Rangers in 2011, but the survey of British teams found that Scottish clubs are now keeping a closer eye on their accounts.

Scottish clubs are more concerned about finances than their English counterparts, according to the report, but at the same time they are more optimistic of making a profit.

The survey by accountants BDO, entitled A New Dawn For Fair Play, questioned the finance directors of 66 teams in the UK, including five from Scotland’s top league, and was carried out before the Scottish Premier League was rebranded the Scottish Premiership.

Decline

Charles Barnett, professional sports group partner at BDO, said: “After a year in which both Hearts and Dunfermline Athletic fell into administration it is welcome news that a large proportion of SPL clubs believe that they will be profitable in the coming year.

“It is also interesting to note that, when compared with other leagues in the UK, revenues of SPL clubs have not been adversely affected by the loss of Rangers.

“Last year many observers, including this survey, felt that SPL clubs might experience a decline in income due to the loss of Rangers. However, this hasn’t happened over the last season.

“It is encouraging that almost all clubs recognise the need to use key performance indicators in assessing the finances of their club. There are signs that clubs are making an effort to control wage costs but they still have some way to go.

“No Scottish teams reported they would increase the size of their first-team squad in the coming season, with 40% stating it would be the same and 60% stating it would be smaller.

Difficulties

“In actual wages, 20% said they would spend the same with 80% stating they will spend less.”

The biggest financial concern for the Scottish clubs surveyed was potential falling attendances over this season, followed by a possible decline in TV income.

Mr Barnett said: “There are clearly some deep-rooted difficulties in Scottish football which may take some years to work through. The excesses of the last decade or so are still working their way through the Scottish football sector.

“We are at a crossroads for Scottish football but there is one fundamental positive outcome of the last year. The fan base for many clubs remains fantastically loyal and, as can be seen at both Dunfermline Athletic and Hearts, will rally round to support their club at whatever cost.

“This means that Scottish football, despite the controversies and the difficulties, has a future.”