Promotion season sees Cardiff increase operating losses by 85 per cent

26 February 2019

cardiff annual account
Photo: Getty Images Cardiff-players, in blue, fighting away from home against high-flying Wolverhampton.

Cardiff City FC’s operating losses increased by 85 per cent to £34 million in the 17/18 Championship season when the club achieved promotion to the English top division.

Club performing well in the commercial area as commercial turnover increased by 83 per cent.

Emil Gjerding Nielson nielson@offthepitch.com

Welsh football club Cardiff City FC almost doubled its operating losses in the 17/18 season as the club paid out bonuses related to the club’s promotion to the English top division, the club revealed.

The club said its operating losses increased to £34 million, an 85 per cent increase from the year before, with extraordinary costs in terms of bonuses and other contractual commitments following the Premier League promotion amounting to £23 million.

Revenue increased by £6 million to £35 million, driven by commercial income which increased by 83 per cent to £8.5 million. Match day income increased by 37 per cent to £4.8 million as the club saw its average attendance rise to 20,164, up from 16,564 the year before.

The Welsh side is owned by Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan who took control of the club in 2010 along with a consortium. Tan is the founder of the Berjaya Corporation, a Malaysian conglomerate controlling businesses in consumer marketing, property development and investment amongst other things.

Cardiff owns Tan £72 million

Tan said he aims to have Cardiff debt free by 2021 and has been reducing the loans owed to him by the club. In the 17/18 season, Tan wrote off £79 million of loans, in part by buying ordinary shares and converting the loans into equity.

Cardiff’s total debt to Tan now stands at around £72 million.

Cardiff bought players worth £14.3 million in the period compared to £6 million the previous season. Before the start of the 18/19 Premier League season, Cardiff player purchases rose to £35.4 million.

Uncertainty surrounds the club as to what will happen to the outstanding amount owed to Sala’s previous parent club

An unrelated third party provided the club with a loan of £28.3 million to help fund new player registrations. 

Following the plane crash which caused the death of Argentinian striker Emiliano Sala, who was set to join Cardiff in the 2019 January transfer window, uncertainty surrounds the club as to what will happen to the outstanding amount owed to Sala’s previous parent club, French side Nantes. 

In February, Nantes filed a complaint to FIFA claiming Cardiff had not paid the first instalment of Sala’s £15 million transfer fee. Cardiff said they remain committed to ensuring fairness with respect to the agreement but that they would wait for the authorities to determine the facts surrounding the tragedy.

FIFA said they are looking into the matter.