Policy for player registrations and football staff remuneration

Manchester United plc – Annual report – 30 June 2019

Industry: leisure

2 Summary of significant accounting policies (extracts)
2.14 Intangible assets
The cost of and amortization methods and periods used by the Group for goodwill, registrations and other intangible assets are disclosed in note 15.

The assets’ useful lives are reviewed, and adjusted if appropriate, at the end of each reporting period. Assets available for sale (principally players’ registrations) are classified as assets held for sale when their carrying value is expected to be recovered principally through a sale transaction and a sale is considered to be highly probable. Highly probable is defined as being actively marketed by the club, with unconditional offers having been received prior to the end of a reporting period. These assets would be stated at the lower of the carrying amount and fair value less costs to sell.

Gains and losses on disposal of players’ and key football management staff registrations are determined by comparing the fair value of the consideration receivable, net of any transaction costs, with the carrying amount and are recognized separately in profit or loss within profit on disposal of intangible assets. Where a part of the consideration receivable is contingent on specified performance conditions, this amount is recognized in profit or loss when receipt is virtually certain.

Loan income on players temporarily loaned to other football clubs is recognized separately in profit or loss within profit on disposal of intangible assets.

2.11 Impairment of assets
Goodwill is not subject to amortization and is tested annually for impairment or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate it might be impaired. Other assets are tested for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable. An impairment loss is recognized in profit or loss for the amount by which the asset’s carrying amount exceeds its recoverable amount. The recoverable amount is the higher of an asset’s fair value less costs of disposal and value in use, and is calculated with reference to future discounted cash flows that the asset is expected to generate when considered as part of a cash-generating unit. Assets other than goodwill that suffered an impairment are reviewed for possible reversal of the impairment at the end of each reporting period. If an impairment subsequently reverses, the carrying amount of the asset is increased to the revised estimate of its recoverable amount, but so that the increased carrying amount does not exceed the carrying amount that would have been determined had no impairment charge been recognized for the asset in prior years.

Management does not consider that it is possible to determine the value in use of an individual player or key football management staff in isolation as that individual (unless via a sale or insurance recovery) cannot generate cash flows on their own. While management does not consider any individual can be separated from the single cash generating unit (“CGU”), being the operations of the Group as a whole, there may be certain circumstances where an individual is taken out of the CGU, when it becomes clear that they will not participate with the club’s men’s first team again, for example, a player sustaining a career threatening injury or is permanently removed from the men’s first team playing squad for another reason. If such circumstances were to arise, the carrying value of the individual would be assessed against the Group’s best estimate of the individual’s fair value less any costs to sell and an impairment charge made in operating expenses reflecting any loss arising.

2.6 Employee benefits (extract)
(ii) Football staff remuneration
Remuneration is charged to operating expenses on a straight-line basis over the contract periods based on the amount payable to players and key football management staff for that period. Any performance bonuses are recognized when the Company considers that it is probable that the condition related to the payment will be achieved.

Signing-on fees are typically paid to players and key football management staff in equal annual installments over the term of the contract. Installments are paid at or near the beginning of each financial year and recognized as prepayments. They are subsequently charged to profit or loss (as employee benefit expenses) on a straight-line basis over the financial year. Signing-on fees paid form part of cash flows from operating activities.

Loyalty fees are bonuses which are paid to players and key football management staff either at the beginning of a renewed contract or in installments over the term of their contract in recognition for either past or future performance. Loyalty bonuses for past service are typically paid in a lump sum amount upon renewal of a contract. These loyalty bonuses require no future service and are not subject to any claw-back provisions were the individual to subsequently leave the club during their new contract term. They are expensed once the Company has a present legal or constructive obligation to make the payment. Loyalty bonuses for ongoing service are typically paid in arrears in equal annual installments over the term of the contract. These are paid at the beginning of the next financial year and the related charge is recognized within employee benefit expenses in profit or loss on a straight-line basis over the current financial year.

15 Intangible assets (extract 1)
The costs associated with the acquisition of players’ and key football management staff registrations are capitalized at the fair value of the consideration payable. Costs include transfer fees, Premier League levy fees, agents’ fees incurred by the club and other directly attributable costs. Costs also include the fair value of any contingent consideration, which is primarily payable to the player’s former club (with associated levy fees payable to the Premier League), once payment becomes probable. Subsequent reassessments of the amount of contingent consideration payable are also included in the cost of the player’s and key football management staff registration.

Registrations costs are fully amortized using the straight-line method over the period covered by the player’s and key football management staff contract. Where a contract is extended, any costs associated with securing the extension are added to the unamortized balance (at the date of the amendment) and the revised book value is amortized over the remaining revised contract life.

15 Intangible assets (extract 2)
Significant estimates and judgments – fair value and impairment of registrations
The costs associated with the acquisition of players’ and key football management staff registrations include an estimate of the fair value of any contingent consideration. The estimate of the fair value of the contingent consideration payable requires management to assess the likelihood of specific performance conditions being met which would trigger the payment of the contingent consideration. This assessment is carried out on an individual basis. The maximum additional amount that could be payable as of 30 June 2019 is disclosed in note 28.1.

The Group will perform an impairment review on intangible assets, including player and key football management staff registrations, if adverse events indicate that the amortized carrying value of the asset may not be recoverable. While no individual can be separated from the single cash generating unit (“CGU”), being the operations of the Group as a whole, there may be certain circumstances where an individual is taken out of the CGU, when it becomes clear that they will not participate with the club’s first team again, for example, a player sustaining a career threatening injury or is permanently removed from the first team squad for another reason. If such circumstances were to arise, the carrying value of the individual would be assessed against the Group’s best estimate of the individual’s fair value less any costs to sell.

The unamortized balance of existing registrations as of 30 June 2019 was £338.8 million, of which £124.6 million is expected to be amortized in the year ended 30 June 2020. The remaining balance is expected to be amortized over the four years to 30 June 2024. This does not take into account player additions after 30 June 2019, which would have the effect of increasing the amortization expense in future periods, nor does it consider disposals subsequent to 30 June 2019, which would have the effect of decreasing future amortization charges. Furthermore, any contract renegotiations would also impact future charges.