Latest FA accounts reveal £60m funding shortfall

Collapse of Setanta and costs of relocation from Soho Square to Wembley contribute to financial woe
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The Independent Football

The Football Association is having to cover a £60m shortfall from the collapse of Setanta and £17m costs of moving from Soho Square to Wembley, it has been revealed.

The FA last night published their accounts which reveals a £3m overall loss in 2009 – but better than the £12m loss in 2008. Although the FA's turnover has increased, the collapse of Setanta has left the body needing to cover a £60m shortfall in television income in the 2008-12 period.

The move to Wembley will also incur losses of almost £17m as there was a 10-year lease on Soho Square, but in the long term the FA should save on costs. The FA has also put into effect a major cost-saving exercise including a pay freeze.

FA chief executive Alex Horne said: "2009 was a difficult year for the FA Group as it was for the UK economy as a whole. The headline was the loss of our domestic broadcast partner, Setanta, as well as one of our overseas broadcasting partners, Gateway.

"We also struggled to find a replacement tenant for our former offices in Soho Square having moved to Wembley in August 2009 and made a significant provision for that situation. But we have persevered and we made new broadcast deals with ITV, ESPN and Supersport and have now exited the Soho Square lease."

The FA's turnover was up £52m on 2008 to £314m, allowing a record £103m to be invested back into football, £16m more than the previous year with half of that going to the grass-roots. Other points of interest in the FA accounts show that staff costs rose from £30.1m to £34.7m with the increase almost totally accounted for by the difference in England manager Fabio Capello's salary compared to that of his predecessor Steve McClaren. Capello's annual salary is £6m while McClaren was on £2.5m a year.

FA chiefs are still in talks with several companies about succeeding Nationwide as their main sponsors and hope to have a deal done by December. Nationwide had offered £20m over four years but that was rejected. The planned National Football Centre at Burton still has a financial shortfall of £8m-10m but the FA is still hopeful of raising that from a hotel and executive housing scheme on the site.

The accounts also showed the FA last year spent £8m on England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Meanwhile, Wembley's finances also appear to be improving with losses down from £31.1m to £15.6m.

Wembley chairman David Bernstein said: "We are not detached from the wider economy and clearly economic conditions are challenging. So although we are travelling in the right direction to break even by 2014 this will be a considerable achievement."

The national stadium hosted 38 major events – concerts and matches – and Horne said the trial with the new Desso pitch, which uses artificial fibres intermingled with real grass, will end the problems with the playing surface that have plagued the stadium.