It has long been clear that Antwerp’s financial results are much worse than its sporting results. Now we can also put a number on it. RAFC recorded a loss of 46,412,414 euros during the 2022-2023 season. The largest loss ever by a Belgian club in one financial year. In the meantime, Antwerp also came up with a response.
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Antwerp had already indicated that after the loss of 32 million euros in 2021/22, a significant red figure would follow again and that has happened here. Owner Paul Gheysens must therefore regularly implement capital increases to guarantee the daily operation of the club and to obtain the license for professional football.
RAFC saw its revenues increase significantly in the previous financial year (from 48.7 to 69 million euros), but the increase in costs was of a different category: from 80 to 112.3 million euros.
Much higher labor costs
The largest cost item on the red and white profit and loss accounts is that of remuneration, social security contributions and pensions. Wages of players, staff and management. They went from 38.4 to 58.4 million euros in one season. The (wage) cost of sporting successes is therefore considerable, but not really surprising. After all, titles and cups come with prizes.
The club always stated that it is in investment mode and that it wants to become self-sustaining one day. Read: Gheysens is a businessman and wants to make a profit and will not continue to make up for losses indefinitely.
These large investments have also been offset by high income since 2023. Players such as Pacho, Ávila and Vermeeren were sold for high amounts and the Champions League also provided a nice sum of money in the Antwerp drawer. Most of that income is for the 2023-2024 financial year and there is therefore no trace of it in these annual accounts.
“Last week, RAFC’s annual accounts for the 22-23 season were submitted. The capital increase that took place before 31.12.23 should also be published soon. Although this reporting contains few new things, we want to proactively provide clarification. It has been explained several times that the club is in a transition phase that is currently moving up a gear. The transition to become less dependent on the owner and to evolve towards a self-sustaining model takes time and entails certain difficulties. Decisive in this process are the resources resulting from outgoing transfers and European group phases. Many targets have been achieved in the current 23-24 season – Champions League qualification and the transfers of Gaston Avila and Arthur Vermeeren – which will lead to good results for the current season. However, those numbers have no impact on the 22-23 season. The major loss in the 22-23 season has therefore been fully absorbed by a capital increase, so that the club continues to have positive equity. With the sporting successes and realized transfers, the right steps have also been taken in the field of Financial Fairplay and Sustainability.”
“The Gheysens family has invested in recent years with a clear goal – to allow the club to become independent at the right time – and continues to support it now. It allowed the club to accelerate and has thus provided a good foundation from which it can continue to build a financially stable future today. European income, outgoing transfers and infrastructure remain very determining parameters for this – as with all clubs. We now have a beautiful, strong club with a national image. The foundations are there. With the enormous development of the youth academy, the recent integration of a large number of young people in the A-team, the sporting successes of youth teams at foreign tournaments and the transfer of Arthur as the milestone, RAFC now also has a solid foundation.”