Celtic published their preliminary results for the year to 30 June 2022 yesterday. After two years affected by the global crisis, results on and off the park are back on form.
Accounting standards require Celtic to compare results with the previous year, however, the crisis makes comparisons with years ending June 2020 and 2021 unhelpful for strategic trend spotting (clearly, all indicators were significantly improved on both years).
Where appropriate, we will compare to year ending June 2019, the last season with full attendances, which also saw Europa League participation.
Headline figures are eye catching. Income was £88.2m (2019: £83.41m), expenses were higher still at £91.7m (2019: £86.94m). That small trading loss was more than offset by the busiest 12 months transfer activity in recent memory.
The financial year encompassed three incredibly busy transfer windows (Jul 21, Aug 21, Jan 22, Jun 22). Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer made up the bulk of the £29m income from player sales. Most of that figure goes straight to the bottom line.
Deals to sign Liel Abada, Carl Starfelt, Josip Juranovic, Giorgos Giakoumakis, Alexandro Bernabei, Cameron Carter-Vickers and our four Japanese players were all signed during the 12-month period. Jota’s permanent signature was publicly announced on 1 July this year, it is unclear if this deal was also included in the figures to 30 June, we will find out when the annual report is published.
Total spend on player registrations for the period was £38.4m. This clearly represents the bulk of the spend for two years. While it is astronomically high, it is not appropriate to compare to any one year.
Profit is right on Celtic’s trend: appropriately small at £6.1m, with cash at 30 June of £30.2m – which is net of bank borrowings.
Income from football and stadium operations softened by around 1% since the last fully open year, £42.782m (2019: £43.252m. Multimedia and other commercial is also down, £20.528m (2019: £22.082m), due to fewer games and less prize money in the Europa League.
These falls were more than offset by merchandising income of £24.925m, a 38% increase on the £18.076m earned in 2019. Every year at this time we track this figure, it is a key metric that Celtic can budget on to offset inherent risks in European prize money. Income here has almost doubled in six years, from £12.577m.
This increase alone bridges more than half the gap between Champions League and Europa League revenue. Compared to where we were six years ago, it is as though the commercial department are bringing in Champions League money every second year.
It is a key component in why Celtic can continue to trade normally without adverse results jeopardising the club. The partnership with Adidas and (subsequently) JD Sport has been enormously beneficial. Much of the reason why we were able to rebound so successfully from the failures in 2020-21 is down to the achievements of the commercial team.
Chief executive Michael Nicholson, in his first review of our annual figures, made two points worth bookmarking.
“UEFA announced… a new Champions League format post 2024…. There is an expectation that, once implemented, this would lead to increased media rights, which would in turn benefit all participating clubs”.
“UEFA introduced significant enhancements in financial governance by introducing new Financial Sustainability Regulations to replace the previous Financial Fair Play Regulations…. These are being introduced on a phased basis from summer 2022 and have the effect of introducing more rigorous spending controls and more definitive sanctions in order to create a sustainable future for the European Club environment.”
The European game changes both financially and competitively in 2024. Celtic have targeted this date for a while and want to be part of the story.
Uefa’s FFP spending controls and sanctions have been opaque since their inception, which has competitively hampered Celtic. What to do about it?
Michael Nicholson went on to say, “Celtic played a significant role at a strategic and technical level in the development of the new regulations, continuing to demonstrate our strategy of participating and contributing to the future of the game at the highest level.”
One of our old pals played the significant role at a strategic level in putting this right, while one of our current backroom team was an architect of the technical details. Despite the bevvy of trophies we’ve won in recent years, I believe Celtic suffered most in European football from the financial mismanagement of others. Some who bore the scars of this issue got to write the new rules, the consequences of which hit home elsewhere this summer. Perhaps some compensation.
Great results, well done to all.