Five-a-side football centre operator Powerleague admitted it was eyeing a move abroad as UK players helped it cheer a boost in sales.

The company, which operates sites in Birmingham, Coventry and Halesowen, said more people were heading to its centres after work to enjoy a kick about with revenues up 17 per cent to £20.5 million during the year to July 1.

Like-for-like sales increased by three per cent while new centres in Kilmarnock and Coventry helped pretax profits reach £4.1 million from £3.7 million in 2005.

Chief executive Sean Tracey believes there is now potential for the group to open centres in Europe, where the five-a-side game has not yet taken off commercially.

He said work had been carried out in Germany and Spain, although it was too early to say when or where a move may take place. He added he was particularly pleased with the occupancy levels of the firm's Midland sites, with Birmingham benefiting from a £300,000 refurbishment which included new pitch surfaces and a seven-a-side pitch.

The firm is now close to opening two more sites in the Midlands, Mr Tracey said, with at least one due to launch in the next 18 months.

He said the World Cup had encouraged people to get involved in the sport, which now boasts more players in the UK than the 11-aside game.

The World Cup also served up extra opportunities for corporate sponsorship at the group's 34 centres, including two-year tie-ups with Budweiser and Nike.

However, the company said like-for-like bar sales had dipped by four per cent as it saw players enjoying energy drinks as opposed to a pint after midweek matches.

The Paisley-based business also suffered the side-effect of the smoking ban in bars in Scotland and non-smoking policies adopted at UK leisure centres.

The firm said it was satisfied with the progress of its Power-league Coventry site, which opened at Woodlands School in May.

Mr Tracey said: "We are now reaping the benefits of the heightened interest in football brought about by the World Cup and new football season."