Chelsea run a loss despite owner Roman Abramovich input

LONDON (AFP) – Chelsea made a loss of almost GBP100 million last year despite owner Roman Abramovich pouring nearly a quarter of a billion pounds into the Premier League club, their figures for 2018/19 released on Tuesday show.

Amongst their expenditure was yet another payout to a sacked manager – this time GBP26.6 million to Italian Antonio Conte.

The 50-year-old – who is now at Inter Milan – had a year left on his contract when he was fired just a season after guiding them to the Premier League title.

“Exceptional items in the current year of GBP26.6million relate to changes in respect of the men’s team management and coaching staff, together with associated legal costs,” read Chelsea’s latest set of published accounts, for the year ending June 30, 2019.

The club has spent GBP90 million in compensation to Conte and his predecessors since Abramovich took over in 2004.

Conte was replaced by compatriot Maurizio Sarri, who left the club for Juventus in the summer of 2019, one year into a three-year contract.

The club also invested GBP280.6m in their playing squad during 2018-19, with the acquisitions of Kepa Arrizabalaga, Christian Pulisic, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho all included in their latest figures.

In all Abramovich, who has at times been rumoured to be disenchanted and looking to sell, put in GBP247 million of his own money over the course of the year – ending in June 2019 – with the club still ending GBP96.6m in the red.

However, their sale of Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard to Real Madrid for EUR100 million last summer should make the next set of accounts happier reading, especially as the outgoings of the club in the most recent close season were zero thanks to a transfer ban.