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Premier League

It hasn't happened since Roman times: Chelsea announce first profit of Abramovich era


Chelsea announced today they have made a profit for the first time in the Roman Abramovich era providing a boost in their bid to comply with Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules.

The club confirmed they were in the black by £1.4m for the year ending June 30, having lost £67.7m the year before, as well as reporting a record turnover of £255.7m, which is the fifth largest amount in Europe - moving them above Arsenal in the European money table.

Since Abramovich bought the club in 2003, Chelsea have previously reported a series of losses as they have spent heavily in the transfer market to compete for trophies.

The club said in a statement they had made £28.8m profit in the transfer market, which is surprising given that Chelsea spent £74m on players over that period with arrivals including Romelu Lukaku (£20m) and Juan Mata (£23m) while sales only amounted to £18.5m. However, Chelsea say the cost of the signings have been spread over the length of each player's contract.

Chelsea have had to concentrate on improving the balance sheet with the FFP rules coming into effect, which threaten to ban clubs from the Champions League if they fail to live within their means.

Coach Roberto di Matteo believes the improved figures will ensure Chelsea can continue to challenge at the highest level for years to come.

He said: "Going forward that puts Chelsea in a strong position to remain competitive at domestic and international level.

"I think I said in the past that we are in favour of Financial Fair Play and doing everything in our power to comply with the new rules. This is great news for the club, it is the first time we have been able to achieve a profit."

Chelsea's Champions League victory in May has played a part in the huge turnaround. The club received £47m for winning the Champions League, whereas in the previous season they made just £35m after they lost to Manchester United in the quarter-finals.

Chelsea insist that staying in profit doesn't depend on Champions League success and Di Matteo added: "The business model is not just based on that, there are many people working in the club for that success. It is thanks to success on the field, but also off the field with new sponsor deals and the transfer market."

Chief executive Ron Gourlay said: "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. The objectives have been set across the whole business, from the Academy to Under-21s and all the way through to the first team."

Significantly, Intergroup debt of £166.6m was capitalised into equity during the course of the year strengthening the balance sheet and making Chelsea FC plc debt free. Effectively, Abramovich has paid off the debt.

Meanwhile, Di Matteo has warned captain John Terry he is no longer guaranteed a place in the side and will have to fight for selection like everyone else.

The defender is expected to return to the first XI against Liverpool on Sunday after serving a four-game ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand but Di Matteo said: "We have a lot of competition in the team and they are all internationals."