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SBD Global/November 12, 2012/Finance

Chelsea Reports First Profit In Nine-Year Tenure Of Owner Roman Abramovich

Chelsea players celebrate after winning the Champions League in May.
Chelsea reported its first profit in the nine years of Roman Abramovich’s ownership, "raising the prospect that the club may be able to comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules," according to Paul Kelso of the London TELEGRAPH. After racking up losses totalling more than £630M in the previous eight seasons, Chelsea recorded a "modest profit" of £1.4M ($2.2M) for the year to June. The figure is "a significant improvement" on the £67.7M loss recorded in the '10-11 season. The profit "reflects the financial upside of the club’s Champions League and FA Cup wins, as well as their improving commercial performance" (TELEGRAPH, 11/9).

MOVING ON UP: In London, Owen Gibson reported that the selective figures for Chelsea, "which cannot be analysed in full until they are lodged with Companies House next week," show the club banked a record turnover of £255.7M ($406.7M), compared to £222.3M the previous year. Chelsea overtook Arsenal to become "Europe's fifth-largest club in terms of revenue." While the acquisitions of players Gary Cahill and Juan Mata were included in this set of accounts, the "summer splurge on Oscar, Eden Hazard and Victor Moses was not." For accounting purposes, incoming transfers "are amortised over the length of their contract while sales can be banked immediately" (GUARDIAN, 11/9). Also in London, Steve Tongue reported that the figures confirm that Abramovich has "converted another £166.6M ($264M) owed to him into shares in the club, having previously done the same thing three years ago to the tune of £709.9M." That enables Chelsea to claim it is effectively "debt-free." Under the new Financial Fair Play system clubs are "allowed losses of up to £36M ($57M) over three seasons" (INDEPENDENT, 11/11).

BIG SPENDER: REUTERS' Keith Weir wrote that Abramovich has "poured hundreds of millions of pounds" into Chelsea. That funding "helped the club to win the EPL three times." Abramovich "got the trophy he craved above all others" when Chelsea defeated Bayern Munich on penalties to win the Champions League in May. Chelsea CEO Ron Gourlay said, "We had that success on the field this year, as we were the first London team to win the UEFA Champions League, and we enjoyed it off the field as well and this helps us inject financial investment into the team. The big challenge is always to have a successful team on the field that wins trophies and to make a profit at the same time" (REUTERS, 11/9).
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