The LTA has just published it its annual accounts and showed a profit of £8.7 million as against the previous year’s £6.3 million losses.
Our responsibility is to protect the long term growth and future of the sport in Britain and our reserves in isolation, can only support the short term needs of the sport at this time. LTA spokesperson
It includes the substantial £45.7 million payment received from the All England Club as part of the agreement between the Club and Governing body, which pays out 90% of what is called a ‘surplus’ from the annual Championships.
The agreement is set to run as long as 2053 to ensure the LTA will always have a secure income stream.
In addition the AELTC contribute funds to maintain the grass court events leading up to The Championships suitable warm up tournaments for Wimbledon amounting to £6.4 million.
The LTA Reserves now stand at some £75 million and has led to the association being criticised for ‘furloughing’ some 50% of its staff thereby calling on taxpayer to fund 80% of their salaries during the coronavirus pandemic.
In defence of their actions, an LTA spokesperson told The Metro: “Whilst the LTA delivered a profit for 2019, the current outlook for 2020 and beyond will be very different due to the financial impact of the current pandemic.
“Our responsibility is to protect the long term growth and future of the sport in Britain and our reserves in isolation, can only support the short term needs of the sport at this time.
“The Government furlough scheme is an essential measure to assist organisations, including the LTA, manage such cash flow constraints and to safeguard jobs in the future.”
That was fully supported by Toby Perkins, the Labour MP for Chesterfield, who is chair of an all-party parliamentary tennis group.
“The furlough scheme is there to help organisations who have staff who would otherwise be laid off and are not in a position to work,” he said
“Whilst there was a significant operating profit last year, tennis players and fans want to see that money being invested in Tennis and I anticipate that there will be a huge loss to the LTA from all of the events cancelled in 2020.
“In that light, the LTA should take steps to ensure that there will be money to invest in the sport beyond COVID.
“If that investment is preserved by utilising schemes that the government put in place to help businesses and organisations to weather the COVID storm I don’t have an issue with that.
“I don’t have sight of which posts have been furloughed so I can’t specifically comment on that, but I do think it is legitimate for an organisation like the LTA to utilise it.”
While the LTA can be proud of turning a profit for 2019, the likelihood of that being repeated in the coming years is unlikely even though the AELTC has insured itself against a pandemic which will soften the losses they will incur following cancellation of Wimbledon and its lead up events which will obviously impact on the next ‘surplus’ figure.
“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic presents a business risk,” the LTA commented in its Finance and Governance Report.
“However the LTA maintains adequate cash balances and reserves to mitigate the potential short-term financial impact of this risk.”
At present the LTA are considering reviving the British National Championships for men, women, juniors and wheelchair players when the lockdown is eased and the Government allows competitive events back, which is not expected before July 31.