Birmingham City Says It Needs to Trade Players to Keep Operating

Birmingham City Plc, the English soccer team whose owner Carson Yeung faces money laundering charges in Hong Kong, said it needs to trade more players or obtain “forward funding” of transfer money to keep operating through the end of the year.

The team made the comments in its annual financial statement released yesterday by the London-based Companies House registry. The statement shows Birmingham City had net income of

16.4 million pounds ($26 million) on sales of 39 million pounds for the year through June 2012, compared to a year-earlier net loss of 12.4 million pounds. The club also cut its payroll costs by 44 percent to 25.1 million pounds.

Shares in Birmingham City’s parent Birmingham International Holdings Ltd. have been suspended from trading in Hong Kong since July 2011, when Yeung was charged with five counts of money laundering.

In November, Yeung won a delay of his trial until April 29. The team’s directors have not received any information to suggest its financing was sourced from money-laundered funds or his loans to the club are subject to an “actual restraint,” according to the statement.

Yeung bought Birmingham City in October 2009 for 81.5 million pounds from David and Ralph Gold and David Sullivan. He paid for the club using funds from a share offering underwritten by Kingston Securities Ltd., controlled by billionaire Chu Yuet-wah, which has interests including casino operations in Macau and investment services.

The team was relegated from the English Premier League in 2011, three months after winning the League Cup final. It’s currently 20th of 24 teams in the second-tier Championship.

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