Austria Wien considering stadium sale to address financial woes

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Austrian Bundesliga football club FK Austria Wien is considering selling its home stadium, Generali Arena, to address its financial issues.

The club announced this week that it posted a loss of €6.85m (£5.9m/€7.5m) for the 2022-23 financial year. It cited an “extremely negative” interest rate development and high depreciation on infrastructure as reasons for the figures.

Austria Wien’s liabilities currently stand at €66.73m and the club’s chief financial officer Harald Zagicek has admitted that the financial situation is “very difficult”. Zagicek pointed to high energy costs and the overall economic situation as factors.

Compared to the previous season, the club’s debt has also risen by almost €2m. Zagicek has discussed the club’s plight in an interview with Austrian newspaper Der Standard and revealed that a sale of Generali Arena is being explored.

When asked how a potential sale of the stadium would work, Zagicek said: “With a sale and leaseback variant. We have to find a real estate investor to sell the stadium to and rent or lease parts of it again. 

“The proceeds from the sale could be used to pay off massive amounts of debt. This reduces interest expenses and depreciation falls off the books. The rental costs, on the other hand, are less important.”

He added: “We are working on it and have a concrete scenario with interested parties. At the same time, we naturally want to increase revenues and reduce costs. But my predecessors will have told you that too. I don’t want to chat steam.”

Austria Wien is currently eighth in the Bundesliga. The club qualified for this year’s UEFA Europa Conference League but was knocked out in the third qualifying round by Polish team Legia Warsaw.

Generali Arena has a capacity of 17,500.