LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United made a full-year loss of 84 million pounds due to managing the cost of debt, they said on Friday, giving more ammunition to the many critics of the Premier League club’s American owners.
The club, third in the Premier League, posted a record operating profit of 101 million pounds due to increased broadcasting and commercial income but made a loss when interest charges and the cost of restructuring debt were added on.
The club also marked down value due to the fluctuating exchange rate and a reduction in the value of the playing squad. They had lower matchday revenues on last year due to the side’s exit from the Champions League in the quarter-finals and the FA Cup in the third round.
The news will add to a debate in Britain about club ownership after rivals Liverpool agreed a sale to new owners in a bid to rid themselves of millions of pounds’ worth of debt which had limited their ability to buy new players.
Many fans of Manchester United also believe their club have been limited in the transfer market, at a time when fierce local rivals Manchester City have spent heavily on new players under wealthy new owners.
The Glazer family bought Manchester United, one of the most famous soccer clubs in the world, in 2005 for about 790 million pounds against a wave of protest from fans who feared they would load it up with too much debt.
The club’s debt has since swelled and supporters have staged a series of protests in a bid to push the owners out. An attempt by wealthy supporters to mount a takeover stalled earlier this year however and the owners have said they have no intention of selling.
For the year to end June, gross debt attached to the club rose slightly to 522 million pounds, according to the results. The club also have so-called payment-in-kind (PIK) loans of around 200 million pounds, which have a higher rate of interest.
Reporting by Kate Holton and Alex Chambers; Editing by Dan Lalor and Clare Fallon
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