Abramovich content as Chelsea losses drop to £80m

February 19, 2007

Billionaire Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has no intention of walking away from the club.

That reassurance came this morning from the club's director of public affairs Simon Greenberg as Chelsea released figures for the year ended June 2006, revealing losses of £80.2milllion.

Costs have been cut by 42.9%, which keeps the big-spending Premiership champions on target to break even by 2009-10.

Asked if the figures were a sign of success on the financial front, Greenberg told BBC Radio 4: 'No, I do not think it is success. It is moving in the right direction, reducing losses and increasing major income streams.

'Our turnover was up and football activities increased income by 6.6%.'

Greenberg believes cost is important to Abramovich, who has ploughed around £500million into the club.

'It matters to him and it matters to us as we have an ambitious and challenging target of breaking even by June 2010,' he said. 'We are on track or at least hope to get very near to it.

'We are not spending as much as we used to do on players' wages and they are more manageable. Although wages are slightly up across the group, players' wages are down by 2%. We think that has become more stable and as revenues grow the business will become more successful.'

Greenberg insisted that Abramovich is as committed to the club as ever in spite of missing a number of matches because of his global business interests.

Asked if Abramovich might be tempted to walk away, Greenberg said: 'No chance.'

When questioned about the Russian missing several matches, he replied: 'He has a lot of business to attend to.'

Greenberg added: 'Mr Abramovich made his views clear about transfer policy and investing in the academy. The auditors have to be satisfied it [Chelsea] has to be a going concern if Mr Abramovich were to leave.'

He also confirmed that the days of massive spending might be coming to an end.

'You can never say never [that Chelsea would not buy a £20million player] but that would be an exception.

'We would hope not to have to go to that level and that our academy would bear fruit in the near future.'

Chelsea have reduced losses by £60million to the year ended June 30, 2006.

Losses were reduced by 42.9% from £140.4million (2004-05) to £80.2million (2005-06), while turnover increased by 2.3% from £146.6million (2004-05) to £150million (2005-06).

Merchandising increased by 44% from £7.7million to £11.1million, and football activities increased by 6.3% from £122.7million to £130.4million.

Chief executive Peter Kenyon said: 'These figures demonstrate that the business is moving in the right direction with increases and growth in all the major income streams.

'That positive trend will only continue as, for example, this year end does not take into account the benefits of our adidas deal.

'Last year we took some painful decisions in order to help us achieve our long-term business aims. This year's figures prove that was the correct decision.

'With increasing sponsorship income, television revenue, and ongoing success on the field, those positive trends are projected to continue.'