Athletic Club Release Financial Statements Ahead Of October’s General Assembly
The first General Assembly of Elizegi’s presidency will be held on 20 October and the Board will have several topics to address. The formation of the Grada de Animacíon will be a major issue with many Socios refusing to move seats as will the Board’s interpretation of the player policy after the signing of Bibiane Schulze-Solano. However, no issue will be analyzed as closely as the club’s currently finances.
Throughout his campaign, Elizegi championed the goal of introducing new forms of revenue and income while also claiming that he would add to the €76 million provisional fund set aside by the former Board. The club recently released the latest financial report to all Socios ahead of the Assembly which has only brought up more questions.
To begin with, the report showed that the current Board has already allocated €39.8 million of the provisional fund to balance the books through 2020. For 2018/2019 a total of €19.8 million has been applied while the remaining €20 million is included in the 2019/2020 budget. Having to use part of the provisional fund isn’t a surprise, but the financial report also showed that Elizegi has added €40 million to the fund which has increased to €116 million.
In addition, there are curiosities in regards to the final numbers from the 2018/2019 fiscal year. The total income expected was €189 million, including the sale of Kepa Arrizabalaga, but the final report shows a total of just over €216 million with no explanation as to where the additional revenue came from. The expenses increased as well from an expected €128.1 million to €192.2 million. A surplus of €24 million is recorded for the fiscal year which far lower than the €60 million that was expected.
The 2019/2020 budget will be the main topic of conversation during the General Assembly and the proposed numbers were also included in the financial release. Expenses are expected to rise from €128.9 million to €132.7 million, leaving the club with just €126,000 in surplus. If the club fails to qualify for Europe it will be extremely difficult to generate more income without selling players unless Elizegi finds new revenue streams.
Last year the wage bill was set at €84.5 million and that number will slightly drop to €84.1 million. This accounts for 63% of the total income, much lower than the €103 that La Liga would allow the club to spend in this area. Clubs are required to keep their wage bills at 70% or less of total income, but Athletic are allowed to climb as high as 78% due to their excellent financial standing throughout the years. The same is true for several other clubs as well.
As usual, Television money is the highest revenue stream for Athletic at the moment. Last season the Basques brought in €69.3 million which was higher than the €64.6 that was expected. This year the club believes that number will drop to around €66.6 million. The Athletic Museum is now the fourth highest source of income, increasing from €5.1 million to €6.2 million. Non-sports spending will rise from €4.4 million to just over €5 million.
Finances will continue to be a major topic throughout Elizegi’s presidency considering the previous Board left the club in the strongest financial state in Athletic’s history. As one of the very few clubs without any debt, Athletic is in a very enviable situation but if the team fails to qualify for Europe, or Elizegi isn’t able to generate new sources of income, it could have major repercussions in the years ahead.
The club has already revealed plans to introduce a new financial committee made up of Socios who will act independently of the Board of Directors. This committee would be given access to all financial records with the goal of holding the Board accountable and keeping everything transparent for Socios as a whole. The Board will be expected to address all of these topics and concerns during the upcoming General Assembly.