A whole new ball game

The company, which signed up much-lauded Arsenal midfield star Patrick Vieira in May, admitted in a trading statement two months later that its annual results would fall below market expectations as delays in contract renegotiations and transfers in European football impacted results.

And football industry observers confirmed this by saying player transfers virtually dried up at the end of last season.

Sport Entertainment said: ‘These delays occurred as a consequence of the slowdown in end of season transfer activity during the World Cup and the levels of uncertainty within the football industry in general.

‘The group is currently working on a number of player transactions and contract renegotiations, which normally would have been completed before the year-end.’And because of these problems, the board voted to change its financial year-end, which is currently 30 June, to 30 September, ‘in the light of the current year-end’s proximity to the start of the football season and the planned changes to the football transfer window’.

The change is expected to take place next year and £2.1m of the current year’s profits will be recognised in next year’s accounts for fifteen months ending in September 2003. The company concluded: ‘The Board considers that this prudent income recognition policy will give increased visibility of the group’s earnings capability.’

Despite these difficulties Sport Entertainment, which is listed on the Alternative Investment Market, said gross profits in its footballing activities grew to £3.8m.But football is not the company’s only activity. It also has a boxing division and manages World Heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, which Sports Entertainment expects ‘will have a significant financial impact on the year’.

And in the entertainment field, Sport Entertainment says it has also made ‘good progress,’ having signed Caprice, Vanessa Feltz, and Nell McAndrew, who have received much publicity during London Fashion week.

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