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A-League kicks off as FFA looks forward to a rare year of profit
Beyond Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chief Executive David Gallop's well publicised claims that football will become the biggest and most popular sport in the country, the FFA is forecasting a rare profit for the 2013/14 financial year as a result of a large increase in broadcasting revenue and sponsorship gains.
Gallop revealed this week that the code had witnessed unprecedented growth over the past two seasons, with a 40% increase in crowds and 100% boost in television ratings.
Speaking at the A-League season launch on Tuesday, Gallop stated "we're forecasting a surplus for 2014 and for the first time we won't have a members deficit on the balance sheet."
The FFA's finances are set for a further boost with a potential $25 million windfall from participating in the FIFA World Cup participation and the sale of the Western Sydney Wanderers.
In 2012, the FFA made a $1.45 million profit, but only after $7 million worth of asset sales. Its annual report showed net liabilities and members deficit of $597,000.
Writing in the Australian Financial Review this week, John Stensholt suggested that the next nine months will shape up as an important time for FFA and football in general.
Stensholt wrote "A-League clubs are on track to have a record number of members, with the Western Sydney Wanderers already moving to put a cap on membership numbers due to capacity constraints at its home ground of Parramatta Stadium.
"FFA will receive between $10 million and $15 million in income from the world governing body FIFA for participating in the World Cup in Brazil next June and July.
"Gallop said the income is important, but much of the sum is spent on player bonuses, servicing sponsors and sending the team to Brazil.
"The organisation is also actively pursuing the sale of the Wanderers, having appointed investment bank UBS in June to sell the club."
When it kicks off tonight, the 2013/14 A-League season will be in the first year of a $160 million, four-year broadcast deal with Fox Sports Australia and SBS.
SBS, which will show Friday night matches, gives the A-League a free-to-air presence for the first time.
Gallop added "the sense of excitement about, and interest in, the A-League is enormous this year.
"Football has had what I call the biggest 'goose bump' moments in the past six months: a sold-out grand final, Josh Kennedy's header for the Socceroos securing World Cup qualification and the visits by Liverpool and Manchester United to Australia. A-League clubs will easily exceed the 100,000 mark for membership as well."
The A-League has also secured Harvey Norman as a sponsor for its Friday night match, with the retailer walking away from rugby league to sign the deal.
However, the owners of 10 A-League clubs are forecast to lose a combined $15 million in 2013-14 while the FFA is also still in talks with prospective sponsors for the Socceroos, having suffered a blow when Qantas ended its sponsorship deal in June, and the inaugural FFA Cup in 2014.
The FFA's 2013 financial results are expected to be published later this month.
11th April 2013 - FOXTEL SPONSORSHIP TO BOOST YOUTH FOOTBALL
16th October 2013 - NIKE EXTENDS FFA PARTNERSHIP TO 2023
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