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Chelsea makes a record loss

January 30, 2005 17:30 IST
Chelsea has made record English soccer losses of 88 million pounds in 2003-04, their first season under the ownership of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, the Premier League club says.

The pre-tax figures for the year to June 30, 2004 surpass Leeds United's previous record loss of 49.5 million pounds in 2003.

Chelsea spokesman Simon Greenberg confirmed the losses for the club's parent company Chelsea Village on Sunday, saying the accounts would be filed to British company registration centre Companies House on Monday.

Compared with Abramovich's vast fortune the loss is unlikely to worry Chelsea, who are 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League and on course to win their first title for 50 years.

"Two years ago we were seen as streets paved with gold. That is over. Chelsea is now being run properly. The club is being run as a business," chief executive Peter Kenyon told the BBC.

Abramovich, the main shareholder in Russian oil firm Sibneft, wiped out 80 million pounds worth of debt after buying Chelsea for 60 million pounds in July 2003. He has since spent around 200 million pounds on players.

The Russian's investment has paid off with Chelsea well clear at the top of the Premier League and safely through to the lucrative Champions League knockout stages under the guidance of Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho replaced Claudio Ranieri last year after the Italian was sacked despite leading the team to second in the Premier League and to the Champions League semi-finals.

SELF-SUFFICIENT

Abramovich spent 175 million pounds on new players in his first season, with the annual payroll more than doubling to 115 million pounds.

Kenyon, recruited from Manchester United after Abramovich's arrival, said the club were looking to become financially self-sufficient and that they have a five-year plan to reduce their dependency on the Russian.

Kenyon helped broker record sponsorship deals with Vodafone and Nike at United and has set about tying up lucrative sponsorship deals for Chelsea.

Chelsea have agreed an eight-year kit deal worth around 100 million pounds with sportswear manufacturer Adidas after it was announced their contract with Umbro was being terminated five years early in 2006.

Shirt sponsors Emirates are to be ditched next season as Kenyon looks for more revenue, with mobile phone companies Siemens and Orange mooted as potential replacements.

Abramovich took Chelsea private after purchasing former chairman Ken Bates's controlling interest in Chelsea Village.

Earlier this month Bates returned to football by buying Leeds in a 10 million-pound deal. The debt-ridden club were relegated from the Premier League last season after being forced to sell their best players.

Bates bought Chelsea in 1982 for one pound and took the club back into the top flight, investing in players and the Stamford Bridge stadium.

The club went heavily into debt, however, and Abramovich's arrival came at a crucial time, with analysts warning that Chelsea could have become the "new Leeds".

Source:
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