Wembley confident despite losses

The Football Association had to pay out a total of £36.1m (€45.3m) in operating losses and interest payments on Wembley Stadium last year, it was confirmed today.

Wembley have reported an operating loss of £21.4m (€26.9m) for the 12 months up to December 31 and there was also a further deficit of £14.7m (€18.5m) paid in interest on the £346m (€435m) loan owed on the stadium.

Wembley chiefs insist, however, the stadium will soon be delivering a profit for the FA and will report an operating profit for this current year.

They point out the revenue in 2007 was £65.5m (€82.2m) but represented only nine months of trading income as the stadium did not come on stream until March.

Start-up costs of £34.2m (€43m) “were understandably high for the first few months as the business familiarised itself with the new building and ensured that the service and safety of 1.8million visitors was the highest priority”, Wembley said in a statement.

The loss also included depreciation costs of £21.6m (€27m).

“During the year, Wembley Stadium recorded £10.1m (€12.7m) of costs related to the final stages of managing the construction. These will not recur and represent the end of this phase of the stadium’s development,” the statement added.

Wembley managing director Alex Horne, said: “I am confident that our proven ability to deliver world-class events and capitalise on revenue streams, combined with efficiencies which we continue to drive event by event, will quickly make a positive impact on the bottom line.

“It was never envisaged that the stadium would record a profit in the first few years of operation.”

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