Manchester City halves its world-record financial loss

Updated 4:08 PM EST, Fri December 14, 2012

Story highlights

English champion Manchester City posts loss of $158 million for 2011-12 season

Its revenues rose to a record $374 million after winning title and playing in Champions League

Owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed injected $273 million to keep the club debt free

City paid more than $325 million in player wages -- the first English club to reach that level

(CNN) —  

Big-spending English club Manchester City moved a step closer to meeting European football’s financial fairplay requirements on Friday despite posting a loss of almost $160 million for last season.

City’s deficit of £97.9 million ($158 million) for 2011-12’s Premier League-winning campaign was just under half that of the £197.5 million ($318 million) for the previous period – which was the biggest loss in soccer history.

The latest figure represents the fourth highest deficit in the English game – three of which belong to City since the arrival of its Abu Dhabi owners in 2008.

It can be contrasted with the $37 million net profit made by rival Manchester United in 2011-12.

United posted a reduced revenue of £320 million ($517 million) for that period, while City closed the gap with a club-record turnover of £231.1 million ($374 million). Both are substantially behind leading Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Chelsea boosted by first profit in Abramovich era

It was the first time that City had breached the £200 million ($323 million) mark, and reflects the club’s attempts to become more self-sufficient and avoid possible punishment from UEFA for failing to meet FFP targets.

However, owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed still injected £169 million ($273 million) in order to keep the club debt free.

“It is important to recognise the personal and ongoing influence of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed on the rapid transformation that is taking place,” said chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak.

“The hard work of everyone involved at Manchester City over the last four years has begun to create an obvious momentum.”

Last season City won the English title for the first time since 1969, and made a debut appearance in the UEFA Champions League.

Manchester United seeks to cash in as sponsor DHL is sent packing

The club’s revenue would have been higher if not for a group-stage exit from Europe’s top club competition – which has been repeated already this season – but new chief executive Ferran Soriano was satisfied with the results.

He joined City in September, having previously helped transform the financial fortunes of Barcelona between 2003-08.

“What I have found is a club on the verge of a historic transformation, reinforced by a genuine commitment to doing things well. It is a club with a rich history and the potential for an even brighter future,” he said.

With the FFP rules coming into play from next season, City officials are under pressure to conform – or face the possible expulsion from European competition and a withholding of prize money.

A 10-year stadium rights deal with Etihad Airlines – owned by Abu Dhabi’s royal family – which also includes the club’s under-construction campus has considerably boosted City’s balance sheet.

It is building an academy to try to avoid paying over the odds for star players in the future – the £201.8 million ($326 million) wage bill for 2011-12 made City the first English club to break £200 million in salaries, according to the Sporting Intelligence website. That equates to more than $890,000 a day.

“The City Football Academy will strengthen the club’s youth development and training capabilities, enable more players to move through the Academy and Elite Development Squads into the first team in the future, while bringing all of the club’s operations together on a single site within the Etihad Campus,” Khaldoon said.

“The responsibility lies with all of us to continue the hard work that will ensure that this is only the beginning of a long and successful era for Manchester City.”