(Reuters) -Manchester United on Thursday reported a wider net loss in the third quarter as broadcast revenue slipped and player wages grew, days after the Premier League club failed to qualify for next season’s lucrative European Champions League.
The English soccer club secured a spot in next season’s Europa League after ending the domestic league campaign in sixth place with 58 points – their lowest tally in the Premier League era.
“It has clearly been a disappointing season for the men’s first team,” said Chief Executive Richard Arnold, who effectively replaced executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward earlier this year.
“Work is well underway to address this, led by our Football Director, John Murtough and our new manager, Erik ten Hag,” Arnold said.
The Old Trafford club brought in Ajax Amsterdam’s Ten Hag as their new coach for next season, making the Dutchman the fifth permanent manager appointed since Alex Ferguson ended his 26-year reign in 2013.
The New York-listed club reported a net loss of 27.7 million pounds ($34.9 million) for the three months to March 31, compared with a loss of 18.1 million pounds a year earlier.
Total revenue at the club, owned by the American Glazer family, however, grew 29% to 153 million pounds after matchday sales jumped 20-fold as Old Trafford welcomed back fans at full capacity following COVID-19 restrictions.
The 20-time English champions have not won the Premier League title since Ferguson’s departure, while the last time they took home major silverware was when they won the Europa League under Jose Mourinho in 2017.
The club, who re-signed Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo last year, said salaries rose nearly 20% in the quarter to 102 million pounds. Net debt also grew 11% to about 496 million pounds by the end of March.
Ten Hag said on Monday that Ronaldo was part of his plans for the club, quashing speculation over the 37-year-old forward’s future.
($1 = 0.7931 pounds)
(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)