Gallop: Good news on football's finances

The A-League’s finances are going from strength to strength with half of the 10 clubs forecast to break even or record a profit in the coming season, according to Football Federation Australia chief David Gallop.

Ahead of the highly-anticipated kick-off of Season 10, Gallop said the signs were optimistic.

The 2014-15 season gets underway on Friday night with an interstate blockbuster between Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers, and Gallop said fans had every reason to feel positive about the future.

“We are not completely through the woods yet financially but half of the clubs will make a profit or at least break even, which is not something we could have said even only a couple of years ago,” Gallop told the Australian Financial Review.

Gallop praised the improving financial acumen across the 10 clubs, boosted by the broadcast deal with Fox Sports and SBS which covered the $2.55 million salary cap.

Across the board, club membership numbers continue to climb and are now past 90,000, up from 87,000 last season.

Gallop added: “We think that figure will break through the 100,000 mark by the first game of the season and further grow after that.

“Membership is critical. . . and shows that fans are not just sampling but actively engaging in football.”

The $11.5 million sale of Wanderers and the  $12 million purchase of Melbourne City by English Premier League powerhouse Manchester City earlier in the year proved the A-League is an attractive proposition for investors, Gallop said.

Newcastle Jets should be the next to test the waters with licence owner Nathan Tinkler offloading his sporting empire.

The FFA bottomline also recorded a “healthy surplus” for the 2014 financial year, following the Socceroos appearance at the World Cup and the Wanderers's sale.

The federation is also on the verge of naming new sponsors, including one for the Socceroos before January’s Asian Cup. Added to that is the appeal of the newly-launched FFA Cup.

Gallop said: “The FFA Cup has been popular and I think there is recognition in the corporate sector of the importance of investing in the grassroots, which we can offer. Already we’ve had inquiries after I made that speech about the whole-of- football plan.”

The FFA Cup has also been an important addition to Fox Sports football coverage according to the network’s CEO Patrick Delany.

“The FFA Cup has been a huge success during the winter and our sense is that it has not only been entertaining and well supported, but has united ­football fans,” he said.

“This will give a charge to the A-League.”