Chelsea are already winning titles - no one can beat that wage bill

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The Independent Online

Chelsea seem to have won their first titles of the season. It emerged yesterday that their wage bill has, courtesy of Roman Abramovich's endless generosity, reached £115.5m - most of it going on the players. Not bad for an industry in which only 11 employees are actively engaged at the sharp end at any one time.

Chelsea seem to have won their first titles of the season. It emerged yesterday that their wage bill has, courtesy of Roman Abramovich's endless generosity, reached £115.5m - most of it going on the players. Not bad for an industry in which only 11 employees are actively engaged at the sharp end at any one time.

Thus they clinched the World Most Expensive Squad Championship, the Most Overpaid Substitutes in History League and even, with a loss last year of £90m, the Intercontinental Debt Cup. Now, that's what you call buying success.

To set these figures in even the dizzying context of football, Chelsea's loss is nearly twice that of all the clubs in the Scottish Premier League combined.

As far as Mr Abramovich's payroll bill goes, he could take this money and, instead of a few dozen footballers, employ no fewer than 11,399 people on the national minimum wage for a year.

His munificence does not stop there. As well helping needy footballers and their wives, and assorted players' agents, yacht chandlers, estate agents and sellers of private jets, he is reported to have given £106m to Chuktoka, the far-east Russian region where he was governor, and to have paid for holidays for each of the region's 12,000 children.

Business, page 2

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