On Wednesday January 27, 1. FC Union Berlin held their Annual General Meeting for the financial year of 2019/20.
Originally planned for the second quarter of the current financial year, the meeting was moved to the third quarter due to the coronavirus restrictions with the intention to hold an in-person event. As restrictions remain in place, the meeting was held virtually for the first time in the club's history. All members were sent personal access details for login on PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone devices.
The Annual General Meeting is a highlight of the year for our 37,417 members. Deserving Union members are honoured at the event, while guests of honour are welcomed and the first-team players are praised. The focus this year, however, was mostly on the financial status of the club.
1. FC Union Berlin president Dirk Zingler was unable attend due to urgent personal reasons and was represented by Executive Committee member Oskar Kosche. He emphasised in front of 3,803 members online that solidarity within the Union family was and is the key to surviving the coronavirus crisis and its severe economic impact. "The willingness to bear the costs of the noticeable drop in revenue was impressive. Whether it was members, employees, partners, banks and sponsors – everyone contributed ending the last season successfully with our Bundesliga status preserved. As the last years have shown, sporting success is the most important component to economic success. In this case, despite negative operating figures, we were able to create the necessary conditions to once again tackle the goal of staying in the Bundesliga with courage and confidence."
In the Executive Committee's report, Oskar Kosche outlined to the members how the previous season had initially progressed well ahead of schedule in all relevant aspects of the business. However, the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, the interruption to the season, game operations continuing without fans in the stadium and with increased organisational expenses, the growth course has been stopped. Nevertheless, 1. FC Union Berlin generated 70.4 million euros in revenue for 2019/20. The club's expenditure was 77.84 million euros, which means there was an operating loss of 7.44 million euros at the end of our first season in the Bundesliga. For the season 2020/21, 1. FC Union Berlin is budgeting income of 77.79 million euros under coronavirus restrictions and outgoings of 77.75 million euros. This means that a difference of 0.040 million euros should be achieved this season.
Stadium expansion update and our new youth academy
Underway since 2017, the development plan procedures for the expansion of the Stadion An der Alten Försterei have not yet been concluded. No final agreement has been reached on the development of the public transport networks and the necessary future transitional arrangements. However, it appears possible to obtain the desired planning rights by the end of 2021.
A decisive step forward was taken on the construction of the new youth academy building at Bruno-Bürgel-Weg in Köpenick. In December 2020, the club signed a lease on the ground where the new facilities will stand. Once the necessary construction permits have been finalised, building work can begin in summer 2021.