Arsenal have revealed that missing out on Champions League participation for the first time in 21 years led to a £23.4m drop in football revenue in their half-year results.
Turnover from football for June to November fell to £167.7m from the 2016 figure of £191.1m, while operating profits from football plummeted to £15.6m from £54.2m.
The club – who host Premier League leaders Manchester City tonight – cited a decline in broadcast, ticket and commercial revenue caused by playing in the less lucrative and prestigious Europa League, and an increase in wage costs of £13.2m.
Overall operating profits more than halved to £20.7m from £54.4m, yet player sales and the club’s property business saw Arsenal’s pre-tax profits rise to £25.1m from £12.6m.
The sales of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool, Kieran Gibbs to West Brom, Gabriel to Valencia and Wojciech Szczesny to Juventus brought in a £58.4m profit, a vast increase on £6.3m in 2016.
That more than offset the impact of signings, such as Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, which increased amortisation costs to £43.6m from £36.0m. Property sales generated £14.5m in revenue and £5.1m of profit.
Arsenal’s cash reserves grew to £160.7m from £123.7m, although £23.0m of that is reserved for debt service.
The club have also spent big since, signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund for a club-record fee though to be £55.5m, although they recouped by selling Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Francis Coquelin, as well as trading Alexis Sanchez.
Arsenal managed to increase pre-tax profits but only after making almost £60m profit on selling players such as Olivier Giroud (Source: Getty)
Arsenal look likely to miss out on Champions League qualification again this term unless they win the Europa League, which has led to renewed speculation about manager Arsene Wenger’s future.
“This has not been the easiest of campaigns but we are all working hard to ensure we have a strong finish,” said chairman Sir Chips Keswick.
“We need to spend effectively and be the best we can across the whole of our football operations if we are to compete at the level our ambitions for the club demand.”