Chelsea were yesterday left assessing the financial implications of their embarrassing second-round exit from the Uefa Cup. The Blues had been hoping for a lengthy run in Europe to help counter the huge losses which were announced in their annual report three weeks ago. But a 1-1 draw with Hapoel Tel Aviv at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, culminating in a 3-1 aggregate defeat, has left Claudio Ranieri's side reflecting on what could potentially have added up to £12m in lost income.
The club's plight was highlighted when Chelsea Village reported an annual loss of £11m and debts of £97m. The Chelsea chairman, Ken Bates, blamed a huge dip in turnover on last season's Uefa Cup first-round defeat by the Swiss outsiders St Gallen and the club's managing director, Colin Hutchinson, estimates the Uefa Cup is worth about £2m a round in revenue.
The early European exit will put pressure on Ranieri, the Italian coach who has seen his team go five games without a win, including disappointing results against lowly West Ham and Derby.
After Ipswich Town's 3-1 win at Helsingborg, their striker Marcus Stewart, who scored twice, said: "I'd like an Italian team as they are renowned for being good defensively and I always like to test myself against the best." His wish came true when Ipswich were drawn against Internazionale.
Leeds, too, had reason to be pleased when they were drawn against Grasshopper Zurich, following their 6-5 aggregate win over Troyes. Mark Viduka's equaliser in the 3-2 second-leg defeat by the French club was his fifth goal in the last six matches, but he was keen to concentrate on domestic issues. "The main thing is we get back to the top of the League," he said. "We've started getting used to being up there. It's felt a bit funny being in second this last week."
UEFA CUP Third-round draw: PAOK Salonika (Gr) v PSV Eindhoven (Neth); Fiorentina (It) v Lille (Fr); Valencia (Sp) v CELTIC; Servette (Swit) v Hertha Berlin; IPSWICH TOWN v Internazionale (It); RANGERS v Paris St-Germain; Feyenoord (Neth) v Freiburg (Ger); AEK Athens (Gr) v Litex Lovech (Bul); Grasshopper Zurich (Swit) v LEEDS UNITED; Parma (It) v Brondby (Den); Bordeaux (Fr) v Roda JC Kerkrade (Neth); Slovan Liberec (Cz Rep) v Real Mallorca (Sp); Hapoel Tel Aviv (Isr) v Lokomotiv Moscow (Rus); FC Copenhagen (Den) v Borussia Dortmund (Ger); Milan (It) v Sporting Lisbon (Port); Club Bruges (Bel) v Lyon (Fr). (First legs to be played 22 November, second legs 6 December).
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