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Chelsea lose just under £50m

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Quite why Chelsea have chosen to release their financial results on New Year's Eve is an interesting question, particularly as they feel they tell a good story.

The club made a loss of just under £50m, compared with a small profit of £1.4m last year. Last year's small profit was influenced by special factors including player sales and the ending of a joint digital venture with Sky with led to a one off payment.

A group turnover of £255.8 million for the 12-month period is a record figure for the club, despite elimination from the Champions League at the group stage last season. Although the Europa League was won, a reduction in income from that success compared with winning the Champions League in 2012 contributed to a loss for the financial year of £49.4m.

The club insists that the two sets of figures taken together place it within Uefa's financial fair play regulations for the first monitoring period and reflect its long-term strategy of achieving financial sustainability. Chelsea are confident that despite tumbling into the red again, they will comply with the acceptable €45m (currently £37.5m) 'deviation' permitted during the first two-year accounting period once allowable expenditure on youth development, infrastructure and charitable giving is excluded from the total.

However, financial fair play experts are arguing that Chelsea is on the wrong trajectory with losses following profits and cannot claim Annex XI relief. It cannot use wage exclusion for wages on pre 2010 contracts. The complex rules are open to varying interpretations and ultimately to challenge in the courts.

Commercial income saw an impressive 19 per cent rise from £67m to £79m, but this is still well behind what Manchester United achieves. These figures do not include the £300m ten year kit deal with Adidas.

The absurdity of FFP

Surely the "trajectory" should take into account that their income is going to increase a good deal this year?

The absurdity of the rules becomes ever more clear. What are they supposed to do? Slash the squad so they drop out of the top 4, which will slash their income, leading to a downward spiral? (And leaving the field clear to Real, Barca, Bayern, and PSG (who got around the rules by employing a member of the Platini famlly)).