Two-fifths of Premier League clubs yet to file as accounts deadline looms

by 24britishtvMarch 29, 2024, 7 p.m. 18
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Two-fifths of Premier League football clubs have yet to make their latest accounts publicly available, as Sunday’s deadline for most official filings approaches.

The gaps in up-to-date public information comes at a time when the finances of England’s top flight are under increasing scrutiny, especially over concerns about potential breaches of financial fair play (FFP) rules.

The delay in filing accounts also exposes those running Premier League clubs to criticism for a lack of transparency.

Stefan Borson, a football finance expert, said: “Almost every set of accounts in this cycle has matters of interest and consequence. Most interesting will be Everton, especially in respect of the debt on the balance sheet and its annual cost; and Chelsea, which appears to only have only just passed the 22/23 profit and sustainability rules.”

He added: “It is also notable that the clubs on the one hand profess to be keen on transparency and on the other wait not only to the final day of the filing window but also post the accounts to benefit from a few extra days of secrecy whilst Companies House scans and uploads the accounts.”

Everton has already been docked six points for FFP breaches and face a further potential points deduction. Chelsea self-reported a number of potential breaches to the Premier League that relate to when Roman Abramovich owned the club.

Of the 20 Premier League clubs in, 11 have already had their accounts published after filing to Companies House, while a 12th, Manchester City, has published its annual report on the club’s website.

Of the remaining eight, seven need to have submitted accounts to Companies House by Sunday in order to comply with UK company law, while Burnley has a financial year ending in July and therefore has one extra month to file.

Having filed accounts, the results can take about a week to be made public.

On Monday, the Guardian revealed that the former chief executive of ­Chelsea Marina Granovskaia is facing ­questions about what she knew of secret payments during the ­Abramovich era, amid a continuing investigation into alleged breaches of FFP rules.

Meanwhile, Everton is in the middle of a long-running takeover saga as it wrestles with rising debts.

Last year, the Merseyside club filed its 2022 annual report on 31 March 2023, according to a Companies House stamp on the document. In those accounts, it stated: “The club remains reliant on the support of its majority shareholder [Farhad Moshiri], who has provided a letter of support to the board confirming the intention to provide ongoing financial support for a period of no less than 12 months from the date of approval of the financial statements but this does not represent a legally binding commitment by the majority shareholder.”

It is understood that Moshiri did not inject any new cash into Everton during the 2023 financial year, with funding instead coming via loans from third parties’ lenders that are thought to have lent more than £500m to the club.

That includes about £225m from Rights and Media Funding Ltd (R&MF), an opaque UK company based in Cheshire with no employees that derives its financing from offshore secrecy jurisdictions; about £140m from a combination of the one-time suitor MSP Sports Capital and Blythe Capital; £20m from Metro Bank and more than £170m from 777 Partners, the investment company attempting to buy Everton.

R&MF has security over property around the club’s Goodison Park stadium, as well as an Everton bank account, public Companies House filings set out.

MSP and Blythe have security over the new stadium development at Bramley-Moore Dock, as well as a charge over just over half of Moshiri’s shares in Blue Heaven Holdings, the Isle of Man company that holds the businessman’s 94% stake in the club, according to corporate documents.

Everton said it had filed its 2023 accounts with Companies House but did not answer further questions on the club’s finances. Chelsea said it had submitted its accounts to Companies House.

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