Arsenal have been left counting the cost of life outside the Champions League as the club’s latest accounts showed a £27.1million loss.
The Gunners suffered a shock Europa League exit from this season’s competition on Thursday night as Olympiacos secured a late away-goals win in the round-of-32 clash.
Failure to progress in the second-tier tournament will see Arsenal, who reached last season’s final, face a further loss of potential prize money and extra broadcasting revenue – as well as a rebate payment to season-ticket holders for fewer cup fixtures.
On Friday, Arsenal’s parent holding company published accounts covering the year ending May 31 2019, which report the group’s loss for the period after tax as £27.1million – slashed down from a profit of £56.5m from 2018.
While football revenue overall was up at £394.7m from £388.2m, benefiting from increased commercial revenues, the club said overall operating profits were impacted by “continued investment in player wages”, which increased to £231.7m.
Changes in first-team coaching staff, support personnel and “transaction advisory costs incurred by the company in relation to KSE UK Inc becoming the group’s sole shareholder” incurred an additional £3.9m.
The results showed player trading activity for the period was “fairly limited”, compared to total profit on sales of some £120m in 2018 following the departures of players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott.
Arsenal said this, coupled with other operating profits “adversely impacted by participation in the UEFA Europa League as opposed to the more lucrative UEFA Champions League”, had “a significant impact on overall profitability”.
Player registrations over the period – which does not include last summer’s club-record signing of Nicolas Pepe – was at a cost of £99m.
Arsenal reported a “robust” overall year-end cash balance of £167m, down from £231.3m in 2018, but a new kit deal is expected to bring in around £60m a year going forwards.
Commenting on the accounts, Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick said in a statement via the club website: “Our player trading profit for this financial year was limited and this combined with a second consecutive season of Europa League football has meant the club recorded its first overall loss since 2002.
“For 2019/20 we will see increased commercial revenues from Adidas and our renewed deal with Emirates, but another season outside the Champions League will continue to apply pressure to our financial results.”