Sheikh owner wipes slate clean at City

MANCHESTER City have recorded a net loss of £92.6m in the first year since the arrival of new owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan – but the billionaire has written off the debt.

The club’s financial results for the 12 months ending 31 May, 2009 show the high price the club is paying in its bid for Premier League success.

The loss rose from £32.6m in 2008 despite increases in revenue.

Match-day attendances rose to 42,890 from an average of 42,081 – generating a rise in revenues of £1.8m – while TV money surged by 12 per cent to £48.3m.

Sheikh Mansour, who paid £210m for the club in August 2008, has moved to make the club effectively debt free by converting all of his £304.9m shareholder loans made to the club into equity.

The debt write-off is seen as a long-term commitment to the club from the Abu Dhabi businessman whose family has an estimated fortune of £560bn.

Under his stewardship the club has spent £200m on players, including £32.5m for Brazilian Robinho.

Manchester City’s chief financial and administration officer Graham Wallace, said: “The financial results reflect a period of rapid change at the club, the result of long-term planning and investment by the board and our owners, to create a sustainable business in the future.

“We have always said that this transformation will take a number of years and these figures reflect that.

“The owners’ decision to convert debt to equity is in line with their previously stated financial strategy and is fantastic news for supporters of Manchester City, whose club is now on a secure financial foundation.”

Last month, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich converted £340m of interest-free loans into equity to technically leave the west London club debt-free.