LONDON – (AFP) – European champions Chelsea announced Friday a profit of £1.4 million ($2.2 million) for last year — the first time they’ve managed to finish in the black under Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.
The announcement of Chelsea’s improved financial position — the previous year they reported a loss of £67.7 million – is timely given the looming introduction of financial fair players rules by European football governing body UEFA designed to ensure clubs in continental competitions break even.
Reflecting on Chelsea’s Champions League final win over Bayern Munich at the German club’s Allianz Arena home ground, Blues chairman Bruce Buck said the London side were now also enjoying commercial, as well as sporting, success.
“We will never forget that night in Munich and now we are celebrating serious progress off the field too.
“While we draw huge satisfaction from the achievements of the past 12 months we are more than ever focused on continuing the story of on-field success supported by improving financial performance off the pitch.”
Chelsea, the first London club to be crowned champions of Europe, also had record group turnover of £255.7 million, up from £225.6 million.
A Chelsea statement said: “The £1.4m profit contrasts with a loss of £67.7m in the previous financial year and puts the club in a strong position to comply with UEFA financial fair play criteria for the coming seasons.
“The club also enjoyed an uplift in revenues from commercial activities including new partners and merchandising.”
The statement added debt of £166.6m was turned into equity during the course of the year “making Chelsea FC plc debt free”.
Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said: “Our club philosophy is built on success. 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.”
Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo, whose side are just a point behind leaders Manchester United in the English Premier League, insisted: “We’re in favour of Financial Fair Play.
“We’re doing everything in our power to comply with the new rules, and this is great news for the club.
“For the first time, we’ve been able to achieve a profit – also thanks to the success on field, but off field as well, with new sponsor deals and also the transfer market.
“Going forward, I think that puts Chelsea Football Club in a strong position to remain competitive at domestic level but also international level.”