Bolton Wanderers record £50.6million loss as threat of Financial Fair Play looms

Bolton Wanderers may have finished in a modest 14th place in the Championship this season, but they did top several leagues last year – not that any clubs will envy them.

The accounts for Championship clubs in 2012/13 revealed Wanderers to have the highest levels of debt, the highest wage bill in the league and to have made the biggest loss before tax.

In total, Championship clubs accumulated debts of £1billion pounds with Blackpool the only team out of 24 to make a profit of £3.1 million.

The Trotters did, mainly through TV deals and parachute payments following relegation from the Premier League in 2012, generate the highest amount of turnover in the league, at £35million ahead of Wolverhampton Wanderers (£32.1million) and Leeds United (28.6million).

However the Whites’ colossal wage bill of £37.4million accounted for 107% of their turnover which led to vast losses of £50.6 million before tax.

Such astronomical losses could spell disaster for Bolton next season when UEFA’s financial fair play rules kick in at Championship level.

Clubs with losses over £8million, who were not promoted at the end of season 2013/2014, will face a transfer embargo indefinitely from 2015 until they can demonstrate a track record of showing acceptable losses.

This could make life for Trotters manager Dougie Freedman extremely difficult as he plots an against-the-odds return to the top-flight of English football, while at the same time being forced to cut the wage bill.

Two big earners at the Reebok Stadium captain Zat Knight and midfielder Chris Eagles were recently released and Freedman may find it difficult to replace them with capable, lower-earning alternatives.

In the money-driven environment of modern football, research has proven wages are an increasingly significant factor.

Analysis of Premier League football clubs’ performance over a six-season period back in 2011 by Stefan Szymanski, a professor of Economics and the Director of Sports at the Cass Business School in London, found that salary levels were 90% responsible for a club’s league position.

Although Bolton’s wage bill in 2012/13 only yielded a seventh place finish, their chances of achieving better next season will certainly be hampered as they strive to meet financial fair play regulations.

Wanderers’ also shelled out £792,000 to their six directors over that campaign, with the highest earner netting £408,000.

It remains to be seen how many players and directors will have to take pay cuts if Bolton are to meet UEFA’s regulations in time.

Main image courtesy of Official BWFC via YouTube, with thanks.

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