Since 2022, Arsenal have committed to publishing separate accounts for the women’s team and, for the first time, we have comparative data on their accounts. On Tuesday, the accounts for 2021-22 were released which show big rises in commercial income, a big rise in the salary bill and a significant boost in funding from the parent company, Arsenal Football Club plc.
Arsenal Women’s £4.3m wage bill was spread across 44 playing and non-playing staff, up from £2.6m across 35 staff the year before. Arsenal added a full-time team psychologist and appointed Gary Lewin to be their first ever Head of Sports Science and Medicine during this period.
On top of that, there were new contracts for Leah Williamson, Vivianne Miedema, Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Jen Beattie and Noelle Maritz. The accounts also show a 62% increase in turnover to £6.9m in the year to 31 May 2022, boosted by the £8m-a-year broadcasting deal agreed between the WSL, the BBC and Sky in 2021.
Matchday revenue also increased to £532,000, with four games held at the Emirates Stadium. This figure will swell significantly in the 2022-23 accounts with more games being held at the Emirates and three games that attracted in excess of 40,000 attendees. Arsenal also signed a women’s team specific commercial deal with beauty brand Il Makiage in November.
The accounts also show a £5.1m “support fee” from the parent company, Arsenal Football Club plc. In the prior year this parent company support was £3.8m. Every WSL club currently has a similar arrangement, where the club effectively invests a fee to the women’s team operations every year. Of the parent company funding, only £1.7m is shown as a ‘loan” ie money to be repaid to the parent.
£5m from the parent company is largely in line with what Chelsea usually provide for their women’s team, though their accounts for 2021-22 are as yet undeclared. Arsenal also made a(n ultimately unsuccessful) world record bid for Manchester United striker Alessia Russo on January transfer deadline day.
However, the women’s side is still heavily reliant on being subsidised by the parent company, the salary bill would represent 242% of the club’s revenue without it as elite level women’s football still works towards self-sustainabilty.
Arsenal Women’s team publishes 21/22 accounts. Revenue up 62% to £6.9m which puts it ahead of many League One clubs and breaks even for the year, but is there a but? pic.twitter.com/Wn9O4u8khp
— Kieran Maguire (@KieranMaguire) February 21, 2023