Chelsea FC has announced their first net profit for the club since billionaire Roman Abramovich’s takeover in June 2003. The increase in club revenue has been brought about not only by the London club’s historic Champions League victory last season, but also by improved commercial deals and a profit from player sales (although this will most likely not include most of the £70m spent this summer on Eden Hazard, Marko Marin,Victor Moses and Oscar). Even prior to the arrival of Abramovich, this represents the first financial gains for the club since June 2000. The reported turnover was bettered in European football only by Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich, all of whom make significantly more than Chelsea through gate receipts at much larger stadiums and better sponsorship.
Since the arrival of the energy tycoon Abramovich at Chelsea, the owner has invested a significant amount of his own fortune to ensure the West London club became part of the European elite, and consistently challenged for top honours. Under his tenure as chairmen, Chelsea won their first league titles since 1955 (three in total), four FA Cups and two League Cups. Their most recent victory in the Champions League over Bayern Munich (which included a semi-final win against Barcelona) made them the first London club to lift Europe’s top trophy
The Abramovich project has involved a huge outlay on some of the best players money could buy, some who had become long-term fixtures at the club (Drogba, Cech, Makelele) and many others who were not able to live up to their exuberant transfer fees and wages (Veron, Shevchenko, Maniche). While the club has often been criticised for inflating the domestic and European transfer markets, the success brought to the club has ensured that the supporters have been content.
This most recent figure will be a welcome boost to the club, especially considering the financial fair play rules introduced by UEFA come into effect next year. The club announced a profit of £1.4m overall, with a record turnover of £255m. The winnings from Champions League totalled £47.9m from prize money and television revenue , while improved commercial deals with Gazprom, Sauber, Delta and Audi also helped. The club also turned a significant profit on sales and decreasing the wage bill over the summer, which saw Yuri Zhirkov, Salomon Kalou and Alex join other clubs for large transfer fees, as well as high-earners Drogba, Anelka, Bosingwa and Kalou moving on elsewhere.
This financial year does not include the £70m outlay on new players over the summer, which has been spread out over many years to minimise it’s effect. This could still mean it could be difficult for Chelsea to ensure that they meet financial fair play criteria before the start of next season. If they are unable to increase revenue sufficiently, it could effect their participation in Europe’s premier competitions.
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