MILAN (Reuters) - The value of playing in the Champions League was underlined on Thursday when Italy’s Juventus reported a return to profit in the first six months of its financial year.
Juventus, set for a place in the last eight of the Champions League, made a profit of 11.3 million euros ($14.81 million) in the six months to the end of December, having lost 34.6 million euros in the same period a year earlier.
Juventus have been revitalised by a move into their own new stadium. That is a rarity in Italy where big clubs often play in shared grounds owned by local authorities, limiting their ability to build money-spinning corporate boxes.
Revenues at the Turin-based club leapt by 75 percent to 149 million euros in the first half, helped by an additional 42.8 million of television money from the Champions League.
Juventus won the Italian league last season without losing a game to complete their recovery after the most successful club in Italian soccer history were relegated in 2006 over a bribery scandal.
The club expects to make a loss for the 2012-13 season as a whole but it would be significantly less than last year’s figure of almost 50 million euros.
Juventus have paid 11.7 million euros to buy a plot of land adjacent to their new stadium from the Turin city council. They plan to build a new training and media centre on the site, along with hotels and other leisure facilities.
Top European clubs are under pressure to get their finances in order to comply with UEFA’s new Financial Fair Play rules that could lead to teams being barred from European competition if the make excessive losses.
Juventus are top of the Italian league by six points ahead of Friday’s match at second-placed Napoli.
They are also on course to advance in the Champions League next week after beating Celtic 3-0 in the first leg of their last-16 game in Glasgow.
Juventus maintain close ties with the Agnellis, the family who founded car maker Fiat. Their shirt sponsor is Fiat unit Jeep and they are controlled by Exor, the holding company of the Agnelli family.
($1 = 0.7628 euros)
Writing by Keith Weir, editing by Ed Osmond