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FA forced to pay out big for Wembley

The Football Association had to pay out a total of £36.1million in operating losses and interest payments on Wembley Stadium last year, it has been confirmed.

Wembley have reported an operating loss of £21.4million for the 12 months up to 31st December and there was also a further deficit of £14.7million paid in interest on the £346million loan owed on the stadium.

Part of the series of 'major milestones' the FA recently unveiled for its 'vision for the next four years' is for Wembley to achieve an annual operating profit by 2012.

Wembley chiefs are confident that the stadium will soon be delivering a profit for the FA and will report an operating profit for this current year.

Start-up costs of £34.2million "were understandably high for the first few months as the business familiarised itself with the new building and ensured that the service and safety of 1.8million visitors was the highest priority", Wembley said in a statement.

The loss also included depreciation costs of £21.6million.

"During the year, Wembley Stadium recorded £10.1million of costs related to the final stages of managing the construction. These will not recur and represent the end of this phase of the stadium's development," the statement added.

Wembley managing director Alex Horne said: "I am confident that our proven ability to deliver world-class events and capitalise on revenue streams, combined with efficiencies which we continue to drive event by event, will quickly make a positive impact on the bottom line.

"It was never envisaged that the stadium would record a profit in the first few years of operation."

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