Major Bristol City boost as club ‘confident’ of avoiding points deduction over FFP compliance

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Richard Gould spoke at the Bristol City Fans Forum and provided a slightly positive update

CEO Richard Gould is confident that Bristol City will avoid any points deduction over their Financial Fair Play situation but has admitted that ‘substantial’ losses will still be made.

The Robins are in the process of sorting through their accounts which are due to be submitted to Companies House in the coming weeks. Bristol City Holding Limited announced in December 2021 that they had made a pre-tax loss of almost £40m. It was related to the 2020/21 campaign in which the season was played without supporters.

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City’s losses for the 2021/22 season, which was the first full-season back with fans in stadia, aims to be published before the end of the New Year. It was the first full campaign that Nigel Pearson oversaw and there was a considerable change to the make-up of the first-team squad.

Fees were recouped for academy product George Nurse from Shrewsbury Town and there was a fee for Adam Nagy who was sold to Pisa. Famara Diedhiou was allowed to leave for a free to Alanyaspor whilst Henri Lansbury, Jack Hunt, Jamie Paterson, and Marley Watkins were also let go.

"We will still be posting a substantial loss for the end of last season," said Gould on Robins TV, appearing at a Fans Forum in the Fans Forum. "We remain eternally grateful for the level of support from the Lansdown family. The numbers are better than the previous year and are about £10m better than the previous year.

"The £10m improvement will be the fact the supporters are back in which is an important part. Working hard to reduce the player cost base and Nigel has had to deal with that. It’s not an easy thing when we’re trying to reduce the player cost base at the level they have.”

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Earlier this year, Gould had admitted that there was uncertainty as to their Financial Fair Play position. A points deduction had been suggested as the club sought clarity from UEFA and the Premier League over the distribution of finances into the Football League.

Several clubs have been issued with points deductions over the years that have proven costly, including Sheffield Wednesday in previous years. City, who achieved a 17th-placed finish last year, are currently just below mid-table and have playoff aspirations. The feeling inside the club is that earlier fears have been put to bed over any points deduction and that the club can continue as normal on the pitch.

Gould added: "FFP has been an issue for all the clubs, particularly at the COVID losses. We were well within limits for the end of last season.

"For this season we’re not forecasting any issues either so positive report on that one. A lot of COVID outbacks that FL allowed to take into consideration and the collapse of the transfer market. The good news is they aren’t anticipating any problems this season.

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"We don’t believe we’ve got a points deduction hanging over us. The uncertainty has been caused by the Football League have rightfully introduced the COVID add-backs. They’ve been trawling through the numbers and waiting for the validation. We are very confident there will not be a points deduction this year."

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