Finances are under control, says Saints' chairman

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The Independent Online

St Helens have announced an operating loss of £800,000 for the year covering the 2002 season, in which they were found guilty of breaching the salary cap.

In the 12 months leading up to 31 October 2002, they also reached the Challenge Cup final and won the Super League grand final, but Sporting Club St Helens Limited, Saints' holding company, made a consolidated operating loss of £799,344.

Yet the club's chairman, Eamonn McManus, believes that Saints' finances have now been brought under control and such a loss will not occur again.

"The year was a significant one in the history of the club," McManus said. "In April 2002 a financial rescue and recapitalisation exercise was successfully implemented, strengthen- ing the club's balance sheet and significantly reducing the debt.

"However, the club recorded further losses in 2002, and the board of directors has conducted a major overhaul of senior and middle management positions," added McManus.

Despite Saints' failure to reach this season's Challenge Cup final, he said the financial outlook is rosy. He insists the club will continue to produce a competitive side and that opportunities arising from a winning team will be maximised.

"The strategy of the club will be to continue financing the cost of a top-class squad whilst capitalising on the revenue opportunities arising from that more successfully than has been the case historically," said McManus.

"Our costs have been controlled, whilst revenues from gates, sponsorship, merchandising and lottery are all improving in 2003. In addition, we eagerly await a successful outcome to the current TV rights negotiations, as this will further assist our efforts."

St Helens' appeal against the two-point deduction for breaching the salary cap will be heard on Monday.

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