Financial boost for Roman’s Blues

Chelsea’s financial losses have been reduced for a fourth

consecutive year to £44.4million for 2009 on a group turnover

of £206.4million.

Roman Abramovich has all but wiped out Chelsea’s

£340million debt, according to financial figures released by

the Premier League leaders on Wednesday.

The 2009 results revealed losses down to £44.4million, a

compensation payment of £12.6million to Luiz Felipe Scolari

and three of his staff – and also Abramovich repeating his actions

of last year when debts were reduced by half.

Abramovich was widely reported to be owed the money as an

interest-free loan, which have now been turned into shares.

A statement from Chelsea read: “Following previous

conversions of half of the debt, the remainder of the interest-free

loans from the parent company, whose ultimate controlling party is

Roman Abramovich, have been converted into equity making the group

effectively debt free.”

Chelsea insist the move “demonstrates the continuing

commitment from the shareholder to the group” but it would also

remove any fears of a meltdown if Abramovich ever decided to walk

away from football.

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: “The club’s debt load has

been reduced almost to nil in order to provide more long-term

stability for the club.

“The reduction will also enable the club to comply with any

regulations on debt levels which are being discussed by the

football community.”

The Russian has bankrolled Chelsea since 2003 and former

chief executive Peter Kenyon previously spoke of the club breaking

even by 2010. The losses announced by the club are down from

£65.7million last year but show the club still to be reliant

on their owner.

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said: “It is still our

aim to be self-sufficient and we will achieve this by increasing

our revenues as we continue to leverage off our brand.

“We are reducing our costs by controlling expenses, including

salaries and wages.”