Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Chelsea Football Club now 'virtually debt-free'

Roman Abramovich
Chelsea's ultimate owner, Roman Abramovich: No more debt at the club

Chelsea Football Club has said it is now "virtually debt-free".

The company made the announcement along with its full-year results. It said it had turned almost all its debt into equity.

The debt was an interest-free loan of £340m ($537m) from its parent company, which is controlled by wealthy Russian Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea also announced reduced losses for the fourth year in a row. Losses fell to £44.4m ($70m) from £65.7m.

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: "The club's debt load has been reduced almost to nil in order to provide more long-term stability for the club. It will also enable the club to comply with any regulations on debt levels which are being discussed by the football community."

'Disciplined management'

Chelsea needs to be debt-free to comply with future Uefa rules. Uefa's president, Michel Platini, wants to ban clubs from the lucrative Champions League after 2012 unless they break even on football-related business.

The club said that "disciplined management" of capital expenditure had reduced the cash spend from £107.4m to £16.9m.

It added that revenues remained stable despite the economic climate, reflecting the strength of the team, its continued success and the attractiveness of the FA Premier League "allied with the continued allegiance of our fans and commercial partners".

Net capital expenditure fell from £85.1m to £4.2m following the completion of major capital projects such as the training centre at Cobham.

The results include exceptional items of £12.6m related to compensation payments to a first team manager and three coaching staff.

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The Sun 36m to sack three bosses - 14 hrs ago
Irish Times Owner's move cancels Chelsea debt - 16 hrs ago
ITN Chelsea wipe out debt - 27 hrs ago
Observer Chelsea 'debt free' under Abramovich - 27 hrs ago
Ananova Chelsea almost debt free - 28 hrs ago

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