Published: 06:00, 21 July 2021
| Updated: 23:03, 21 July 2021
Ebbsfleet United lost over £1.6million during the curtailed 2019/20 season which eventually saw them relegated from the National League.
It follows losses of around £2.6million in each of the two previous campaigns, which prompted a much-publicised cost-cutting exercise.
The football club’s recently released financial figures, for the year ending May 30, 2020, show that once interest, depreciation and amortisation are taken into account, the loss before taxation was £1,678,560.
They showed average staff levels dropped from 58 in 2019 to 32 in 2020, with the associated costs falling from over £2million to just over £1.36million. Total operating expenses for the year were £2.5million, a reduction from over £3.5million in 2019.
Turnover for the year dropped from just over £1million to £643,404, despite central income increasing by nearly £70,000 to £171,020. Income from matchday operations fell from £628,174 to £373,591 and commercial activities dropped from £242,986 to £95,534.
Some of the reduction in income was down to the football season stopping in March due to Covid-19. The Fleet used the government job retention scheme which covered 80 per cent of contracted staff wages but carried the burden of 20 per cent of the “wage obligations over and above the job retention scheme relief”. The club also took advantage of the holiday period for VAT and HMRC PAYE payments and has negotiated payment plans with HMRC for those liabilities to “ease cash flow burden” in the future. The accounts show the club gained from grants of £250,050 in 2020.
The Fleet are funded by KEH Sports Limited, a UK registered company that is controlled by Dr Abdulla Al-Humaidi, the man behind the theme park that is set to be built on the Swanscombe Peninsula. The accounts say that the owner continues to fund the current operating deficit on a monthly basis.
KEH Sports Limited are now owed over £1.8million by Ebbsfleet United, an increase from £518,503 in the previous year’s accounts.
The club owed more than £2.8million in loans, an increase from £933,549 in 2019. The total owed to creditors was over £4.7million, an increase from just over £3.2million in 2019.
In February 2020, Damian Irvine was appointed as the club’s new chief executive. On the field, Ebbsfleet stopped playing in March 2020 due to Covid-19 and Fleet dropped a place into the bottom three by 0.002 of a point after the table was decided on an unweighted points-per-game basis.
They started last season in National League South with a new manager, Dennis Kutrieb, in charge. The Fleet were 11th in the table when the season was stopped in February, and subsequently curtailed with no promotion or relegation.