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Champions League behind Celtic's boosted profits, says chairman

Celtic chairman Ian Bankier has attributed increased pre-tax profits of £6.9million to the Hoops' Champions League success.

The Parkhead outfit have released their annual accounts for the year up to June 30, with improved revenue sums of £90.6m also reported.

The recent pre-tax profits compare positively to the 2016 figure of £500,000 and Bankier says much of that is to do with Brendan Rodgers' team successfully qualifying for last term's Champions League group stage.

The club also announced their operating expenses rose by a third to £76.3m, while cash brought in by the sale of players dropped from £12.6m in 2016 to just £2.3m.

Bankier said in his annual statement to shareholders: "These results reflect the paramount importance to the company of participation in the group stages of the Champions League.

"The foundations for that success are based on consistency, stability and the implementation of a prudent long-term strategy that dictates that the company invests in its football operations, whilst maintaining a self-sustaining financial model.

"The board considers that this strategy remains appropriate for Celtic plc and will continue to seek out and retain top talent on and off the field of play so as to deliver football success and, in turn, shareholder value.

"The board has been able to manage short-term challenges, and maintain the course it has set and reported on over the past several years, because there is consistency in the ownership, board and executive management of the company.

"These ingredients provide the stability that is so crucial for the successful operation of a football club at our level."

Rodgers' side swept to a remarkable domestic treble last term as they completed the campaign unbeaten.

But the size of the task facing Celtic on the European front was brutally demonstrated last week as they were hammered 5-0 by Paris St Germain in the opening clash of this year's Champions League.

Now Bankier says Celtic will do all they can to ensure the gap between European football's rich and poor does not grow any wider.

He added: "On behalf of the board I warmly congratulate Brendan, his staff and the players on a truly remarkable season during which we achieved an 'Invincible Treble', a sixth consecutive league championship and consecutive qualifications for the group stages of the Champions League.

"Whilst the fundamentals that were in place at the club when he joined with his staff were strong, Brendan has been a remarkable catalyst.

"Just as it is important to recognise the importance to us of participation in the Champions League, so it is important to recognise that the financial gap between Celtic and the richer clubs in European football is widening.

"The growing financial power of a number of key constituencies within the European game makes us vulnerable to structural change. It is, therefore, vital that we are represented at the highest levels of European football.

"(Celtic chief executive) Peter Lawwell's appointments to the board of the European Club Association, the Club Competitions Committee at UEFA and the Professional Football Strategy Council of UEFA gives the club a voice and ensures that we are very well represented and that our image and profile are held high."

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