Celtic revenue up 74% to £90m; Euro gap widens

Celtic chairman Ian Bankier (left) and CEO Peter Lawwell

Celtic plc said its revenue increased 74.2% to £90.6 million in the year ended June 30 and profit before tax soared to £6.9 million from £500,000 a year earlier as the club benefited from participation in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.

However, Celtic chairman Ian Bankier warned that the financial gap between Celtic and the richer clubs in European football is widening. 

He warned the growing financial power of a number of “key constituencies” within the European game made Celtic “vulnerable to structural change.”

Celtic’s operating expenses increased 33.3% to £76.3 million, the gain on sale of player registrations fell to £2.3 million from £12.6 million and the club made investments in football personnel of £13.8 million, up from £8.8 million.

Year-end cash net of bank borrowings rose to £17.9 million from £3.6 million.

“These results … reflect the paramount importance to the company of participation in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League,” said Bankier.

“The foundations for that success are based on consistency, stability and the implementation of a prudent long term strategy that dictates that the company invests in its football operations, whilst maintaining a self-sustaining financial model. 

“The board considers that this strategy remains appropriate for Celtic plc and will continue to seek out and retain top talent on and off the field of play so as to deliver football success and, in turn, shareholder value. 

“The board has been able to manage short term challenges, and maintain the course it has set and reported on over the past several years, because there is consistency in the ownership, board and executive management of the company … 

“On behalf of the board I warmly congratulate (manager) Brendan Rodgers, his staff and the players on a truly remarkable season during which we achieved an Invincible Treble, a sixth consecutive League Championship and consecutive qualifications for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League. 

“Whilst the fundamentals that were in place at the club when he joined with his staff were strong, Brendan has been a remarkable catalyst.

“Just as it is important to recognise the importance to us of participation in the UEFA Champions League, so it is important to recognise that the financial gap between Celtic Football Club and the richer clubs in European football is widening. 

“The growing financial power of a number of key constituencies within the European game makes us vulnerable to structural change.

“It is, therefore, vital that we are represented at the highest levels of European football. 

“(Celtic CEO) Peter Lawwell’s appointments to the board of the European Club Association, the Club Competitions Committee at UEFA and the Professional Football Strategy Council of UEFA gives the club a voice and ensures that we are very well represented and that our image and profile are held high. 

“We are grateful for Peter’s continued commitment to promoting our interests in this very important arena.”

Lawwell said: “To remain undefeated domestically while winning all three competitions, for only the fourth time in the club’s history, and to do so whilst qualifying for and participating in the UEFA Champions League group stages, is a fantastic achievement, for which Brendan, the players and everyone at the club should be congratulated. 

“Our objectives for this year remain success in all three domestic competitions and in the UEFA Champions League.

“Success on the pitch, in particular qualification for the UEFA Champions League group stages, leads to success off the pitch and this can be seen in our results this year. 

“Given the restrictions in the environment in which we operate domestically, financial contribution from success in European football and prudent management of player registrations is crucial to enable the company to continue to invest in the long term strategic objective of the company: to create a world class football club …

“While we cannot compete with the financial resources of some other clubs, we can and will ensure that our investment creates the infrastructure to grow the club for the long term and helps us manage the risk and uncertainty in football.”