Brighton and Hove Albion reported an operating loss of £14.7 million for the 2012-13 season.
The loss was recorded in the football club’s annual accounts which have been filed with Companies House and the Football League.
Albion said yesterday (Wednesday 5 February) that the financial results for the year to Sunday 30 June 2013 covered the club’s second year at the American Express Community Stadium in Falmer.
They showed a rise in turnover from £22.1 million to £23.3 million but an increased operating loss from the £8.6 million recorded in the first season at the stadium.
Ticketing, commercial and retail income increased from £13.8 million to £14.3 million.
But overall turnover growth was held back as the contribution from Football League income dropped from £5.7 million to £4.8 million because of a new reduced deal for television rights.
The increased operating loss was attributed primarily to a 41 per cent rise in football costs from £14.8 million to £20.9 million.
This was a result of new signings and an increase in player wages as the club made a concerted effort to achieve promotion to the Premier League.
There was also an increase in administrative and operational costs from £16 million to £17.2 million.
This figure included a number of one-off exceptional costs, mainly as the result of a staff redundancy programme.
It also reflected the club taking the opportunity to absorb some other one-off operational costs before “financial fair play” sanctions are imposed.
Albion chief executive Paul Barber said: “This set of results shows the reality of football in the Championship in recent years and demonstrates the very high cost of being competitive – with no guarantee of promotion to the Premier League.
“We had the highest average crowd in the Football League last season and we continued to grow the revenues we can control.
“But, in order to compete at the top end of the Championship, we had to once again rely on another considerable investment from our chairman Tony Bloom.
“Not only has Tony provided interest-free funding to build the American Express Community Stadium and the new training ground project, which opens this summer, he has also covered the club’s losses to date and is committed to funding future losses.
“The board’s short-term ambition remains to see the club promoted to, and established within, the top level of English football.
“On behalf of all Albion fans, the board would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Tony for his incredibly generous personal support that continues to take the club forward.”
For the 2012-13 season Albion recorded a deficit under the financial fair play rules but it was the last season before sanctions are applied to clubs not complying with the new regulations.
The maximum permitted allowance – or loss – for the 2013-14 season is £8 million.
Mr Barber said that the club was on course to meet its financial fair play (FFP) target for the current season.
He added: “We simply cannot sit back and rely on Tony’s continued generosity alone.
“The new rules do not allow this, even if it was something Tony was prepared to do.
“Therefore, as a club we remain committed to the financial fair play philosophy.
“The challenge for all of us is to continue to ensure the club is as efficient as possible while continuing to grow our income streams.
“With regard to the FFP landscape, it is still new territory for all clubs and there has been much talk at both Premier League and Championship level about what other clubs are doing and whether they will comply.
“At this time, our concern is simply Brighton and Hove Albion and what we are doing.
“We remain absolutely committed to a long-term strategy for the club which ensures our future financial sustainability.
“So, while it may not be a perfect system, we continue to agree with the principle of FFP.”
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