Hibs reveal bank balance has HALVED as Covid impact laid bare in financial report

Hibs are seeking a strong season ticket uptake after the Easter Road bank balance almost HALVED in six months last year with the lack of fans at football stadiums taking a severe toll on club coffers.

The club has reported its annual figures through to June 30 last year, but also included a forecast of this season among the shareholders’ information for the forthcoming AGM

Around £5.3m cash was in the bank at the club’s financial year-end last summer – but by the end of 2020 where fans were unable to pass through the turnstiles at Easter Road, the club’s cash position had dropped to £2.6m with reduced income and increased costs to comply with COVID-19 return to play regulations affecting the accounts.

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The details will be discussed at the club’s annual meeting on Wednesday, April 7 – which will be hosted online.

Easter Road will not be able to host the shareholders' annual meeting this year (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Chairman Ron Gordon said: “Although we would all prefer to hold the meeting at Easter Road Stadium, current restrictions to stop the spread of the covid virus do not allow for us to welcome you back to the club’s home yet.

“We will do our best to make sure the virtual meeting runs smoothly. We also intend to provide shareholders with an update on progress on implementing the strategic plan we outlined at the previous AGM.

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“Your Board and I would like to thank all those who supported the club during the 19/20 season, especially in view of the challenges imposed on the club and football in general by the covid-19 pandemic. We are particularly grateful to our season ticket holders, the players and coaching staff, and the entire team at Hibernian FC for their tireless work behind the scenes to help the club navigate the public health and financial challenges of the ongoing pandemic.

"Gratefully, the vaccine programme combined with the restrictions of recent months are bringing the pandemic under control, and the outlook for football in 2021 is starting to look brighter. We believe that in the foreseeable future we will be able to welcome you back to Easter Road. That will be a very special and wonderful day for us all.”

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Hibs' Ron Gordon sent a message to fans. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The club balance sheet to June 2020 details a £1.4m loss and shows a drop in turnover of almost £2m with net loss of £1.2m.

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Turnover reducing by 17 per cent also had a knock-on effect on the club’s wage to turnover ratio which increased from 59% the previous season to 74% in the shortened 2019-20 campaign. However, the Government furlough scheme’s payments re-adjusted the wage to turnover ratio to 68%. Hibs received £500,000 from the job retention scheme while other staff and players agreed wage deferrals.

The cash position at June 30 last year was £5.3m – a figure aided by 11,000 season ticket sales and player transfer fees and only £200,000 less than the previous year’s cash at bank figure.

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The club say the accounts “highlight the ongoing impact of the global Covid 19 pandemic and the restrictions taken to tackle it,” adding “figures for the current year also highlight the continued financial stress being suffered by professional football clubs caused by the inability to have supporters return to stadiums.”

The annual meeting for shareholders will take place virtually at 3pm on April 7.

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