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Union Saint-Gilloise football club makes profit for first time
After years in the financial doldrums, Brussels' Royal Union Saint-Gilloise (USG) football club made a gross profit this year of just under €5 million, new accounts reveal.
This recovery has been linked to impressive sports performances on the field and favourable transfers.
Since British entrepreneur, sports better and poker player Tony Bloom took over USG in 2018, the club has accumulated losses – in the 2021-2022 season chalking up a loss of €3.4 million.
Bloom later became a minority shareholder in 2023, to meet the Uefa’s multi-ownership rules - Bloom also owns Brighton & Hove Albion football club.
In the last financial year, 2022-2023, USG achieved no less than €41 million in revenue, twice as much as the €20 million it received in the previous year.
Flemish daily De Tijd reports that the lucrative transfers of Denmark’s Casper Nielsen to Club Brugge KV in July 2022 and Genk’s Dante Vanzeir to New York Red Bulls in February 2023 had something to do with the gains.
Expenses also increased significantly however, from €23 to €26 million, due to the growth in player salaries and bonuses.
But even taking these expenses into account, there was still a gross margin of profit of €5 million.
After deducting taxes, interest and depreciation of the asset’s value over time, the net profit seen for 2023 is €3.9 million.
In addition, Langhold, USG’s holding company of which Bloom is the largest shareholder and where USG president Alex Muzio has been the main shareholder since this summer, cancelled the club’s debts during the past financial year.
USG also do not have to repay the remaining €3 million long term. However, some €10 million of short-term debt still needs to be paid.
Meanwhile, USG’s overall profits look set to be much higher. The record €27.5 million received from the transfer of striker Victor Boniface to the German Bundesliga’s Bayern Leverkusen in July 2023 will not show up in the club’s accounts until 2024.
USG paid Norwegian club Bodø/Glimt €2 million in summer 2022 for the star player from Nigeria.