Two years after their iconic manager,Arsene Wenger left, Arsenal have recorded their first overall loss since 2002 after publishing their accounts for the financial year ended May 31, 2019.
The post-tax loss of £27.1m is a significant one for the club, who posted a post-tax profit of £56.5m for accounts from the previous year and enjoyed two decades of economic boom under Arsene Wenger.
The switch from a profit to a loss can largely be attributed to Arsenal’s activity in the transfer market and increased player salaries.
The accounts cover the year up to May 2019 and show a massive hit to the Gunners’ coffers after registering a £56.5million post-tax profit the year before.
To add insult to injury, the club’s embarrassing Europa League elimination on Thursday to Olympiacos will further hamper their finances going forward.
The defeat means they will not only lose money from potential tournament winnings and TV revenue, but they will also have to pay out to their season ticket holders.
If Arsenal do not play the required number of seven cup fixtures at the Emirates, fans receive a rebate which will cost the club millions.
So far they have played five at home, and can only play a maximum of six.
They will travel to Portsmouth in the FA Cup, but replays have been scrapped from the fifth round meaning they won’t be able to stage another tie at home.
Even if Arsenal progress to the Quarter Finals and have a home tie, that will be a maximum of six cup games at the Emirates before the semi-finals take place at Wembley.
With Arsenal sitting in ninth place behind a crowded field, Europa League qualification appears likely to evade them this season, further worsening their situation.
The report does not include the hefty spending in the summer after Unai Emery broke the club’s transfer record to bring in Nicolas Pepe for £72million, although this sum will be spread over a number of years.
A further £70million was spent on the acquisitions of Kieran Tierney, William Saliba, David Luiz and Gabriel Martinelli.
Arsenal also raised £48million in the window, largely through the sale of Alex Iwobi, but the big signings could have ramifications for next year’s accounts, particularly with the likely loss of European football.
At the time, director Josh Kroenke said: ‘It’s no secret that we have a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget right now.
‘That’s a fact. And one that we’re figuring out how to face internally at the moment.
‘That doesn’t mean that my father or I have ever said anything about any restrictions on spending. It’s not who you buy, it’s how you buy.’
Commenting on the news the club’s chairman, Sir Chips Keswick, said: ‘Our player trading profit for this financial year was limited and this combined with a second consecutive season of Europa League football has meant the club recorded its first overall loss since 2002.
The news comes shortly after Manchester United announced a similarly damaging report with the lack of Champions League football also affecting Old Trafford.It is however ironic that the two clubs lost their hugely popular managers and have been groping ever since.
The latest financial figures at United confirmed a drop in revenue that could total £70million for the year.