When Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich was acquiring football club Chelsea in 2003, it was obvious that he would need to spend quite a lot to extricate the club from the financial crisis. Five years have passed, but the team still experiences problems. Chelsea remains an unprofitable club that loses nearly $200 million every year. Chances for improvement are tiny for at least two years.
The financial report, which the club published last week, says that Chelsea still exists owing to Mr. Abramovich’s personal investments. The billionaire has invested over 578 million pounds ($1.15 billion) in the team so far. A big part of this money ($275 million) was spent to purchase the club, although the amount still remains impressive.
Season 2004-2005 became the most expensive one for Abramovich, when the London-based club acquired quite a number of footballers on the world transfer market. As a result, the spending was evaluated at $248 million.
The transfer campaign of the next season was pricy too: Abramovich had to pay about $168 for newcomers. The last season was the “cheapest” for Chelsea: $23 million.
It is worthy of note that U.S. businessmen Tom Hicks and George Gillett – the owners of Liverpool – assigned about $80 million for transfer deals after they had purchased the club. That was a considerable amount for the European market.
Chelsea acquired only full-fledged football stars with extremely high fees. In 2005-2006 Chelsea’s footballers earned $223 million, which became the key expense item for the club. Frank Lampard, John Terry, Michael Ballack and Didier Drogba cover about 55 percent of the club’s salary reserve.
Britain’s another prominent football club – Manchester United – paid out $166 million to all of its players in 2005-2006. Abramovich’s Chelsea failed to win the Champion’s League and never made it in the finals of this prestigious European tournament.
Nevertheless, Bruce Buck, the chairman of Chelsea’s Board of Directors, said that Roman Abramovich invests in Chelsea solely due to his fondness for the club and does not count for the profit.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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