Adelaide United facing financial troubles

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Adelaide United is the latest A-League club to fall into financial difficulties with revelations emerging the club is unprofitable and behind on payments. United are not the only A-League club to find themselves in the red recently with Newcastle Jets being put up for sale and Central Coast Mariners also rumoured to be struggling to stay afloat.

A source close to the inner workings of the club has revealed to Football Central that United are currently operating at a loss of around $1 million per annum, a model that is unsustainable for the current ownership group. Whilst not looking to sell the club in as public a manner as Nathan Tinkler and the Jets, it is understood that the Reds owners are willing to listen to offers and have set an asking price of about $5 million.

United are in a difficult position without a permanent training base, which means they have no capital to sell or lease to generate income. There have also been issues in recent seasons over the cost of rent at Coopers Stadium, which has further compounded the troublesome financial situation.

The losses off the field have begun to affect the team on it, with suggestions a dispute regarding a loan fee for left back Michael Zullo has cost the Reds the chance to secure the Socceroo’s services for another season.

Zullo’s parent club FC Utrecht agreed to loan Zullo to United for the 2013/14 season with the player keen to get back into the national team picture, on the condition the Dutch club would receive a fee of €80,000 for the season-long loan deal.

Sources indicate half of the fee has yet to be paid to Utrecht, and they’ve lodged an official complaint with FIFA. It’s believed Utrecht would have been happy to loan Zullo to the Reds again this season, if they had been paid in a timely manner.

“I think if we had paid them (Utrecht), we (Adelaide) would have had Zullo again this season,” a source close to the situation said.

But the late payment of the first €40,000 combined with the non-payment of the remaining €40,000 scuppered any chance of that happening, before Zullo unfortunately tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament while training with Utrecht.

United’s lack of funds are believed to be a big reason why the Adelaide based club have been unable to secure the services of Adelaide-born James Troisi, with their offer falling short of the Socceroos attacker’s expectations. United remain hopeful they can land Troisi on loan from Juventus, despite the Italian giant’s desire for him to remain in Europe.

United are also well behind on their superannuation payments to players and staff, with instalments due in January and February only being paid in August.

“We received January’s super on the 5th of August and February’s on the 22nd of August,” a source revealed to Football Central.

Football Federation Australia are aware of the issues Adelaide United face but have indicated  other financially vulnerable clubs remain a priority, and as such they are unable to assist at this time.

Adelaide United were unavailable to comment on the club’s financial situation, after attempts by Football Central to contact their media department.

Andrew Cussen

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