Losses at West Bromwich Albion FC have increased by £17 million as it battled the effects of the covid pandemic to win promotion back to the Premier League.
In its newly released financial results for the 2019/20 season, the Black Country club posted a pre-tax loss of £23.7 million, down from £6.7 million for 2018/19, while revenue fell by a similar amount, down £17.1 million to £53.7 million.
It is the third season in a row the club has recorded a pre-tax loss but directors insist it remains debt free with no loans taken.
Its annual report this year has been expanded to cover the 13 months to July 31, 2020, ensuring it reflected the entirety of the 2019/20 season which was extended following a break in play between March and June last year because of the pandemic.
West Bromwich Albion completed the season in an empty Hawthorns stadium by finishing second to secure a return to the Premier League after just two years away.
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Manager Slaven Bilić achieved the feat in his first season in charge but he was sacked in December to be replaced by incumbent Sam Allardyce.
The annual report said: “While the club has historically maintained a solid financial position, retaining decent headroom in its facilities, the pandemic and the subsequent losses in revenues saw that erode away.
“Promotion to the Premier League and the turnover this has secured allowed the board to begin resetting the position of security that had been so quickly lost while also attempting to build a competitive playing squad for the new season.
“The majority of the pre-tax loss was due to promotion bonuses and an estimated £3.3 million reduction in profit due to the impact of covid-19.”
Other notable figures in the annual report include a slight fall in season ticket holders from 17,750 to 17,650 while average attendances stayed at 24,100 until the lockdown forced games to be played behind closed doors.
Gate receipts understandably dropped, from £7.3 million to £4.8 million, income from media activities fell by £12.2 million to £40.5 million and the wage bill climbed by £20 million to £66.8 million.
As a newly promoted side, the club received £7 million less in core Premier League funding than anticipated for the 2020/21 season and a £2.1million rebate is due to be paid back to the Premier League related to last season, sought by broadcasters for the coverage without supporters.
After initially opting not to use the Government’s furlough scheme, it decided in May to take advantage of it although this ceased in July once promotion had been secured.
The annual report said the club began preparing immediately for the “formidable challenges” which lay ahead following its promotion back to the Premier League last summer.
It added: “The club requirement of remaining financially self-sufficient continues and the board had to contend with a much-reduced pot of funds – owing to promotion bonuses, a decrease in regular Premier League revenues, an uplift in player salaries and loss of earnings due to the pandemic – for its first foray in the Premier League.”