Chelsea post £121.3m loss, blame sanctions on ex-owner Roman Abramovich

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Chelsea recorded an overall net loss of £121.3 million ($148.65m) for 2021-22 due to "extraordinary expenses and loss of revenue," with the club blaming sanctions imposed on previous owner Roman Abramovich, the Premier League club said on Monday.

Russian owner Abramovich put the club up for sale in early March last year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which spurred the UK government to introduce sanctions on Abramovich.

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Chelsea were not allowed to sell tickets during that period, resulting in a loss of revenue, while their operational spend was also curtailed due to government restrictions until the sale was completed at the end of May.

"During this period, the club was restricted in a number of areas including, but not limited to, its ability to sell matchday and season tickets, sell merchandise, accept event bookings, as well as sign contracts with players and commercial sponsorship partners, which collectively resulted in extraordinary expenses and loss of revenue," Chelsea said in a statement.

"Furthermore, some of these limitations are also expected to have an impact on the financials in the following years due to the long-term impact from restrictions on entering into new contractual arrangements."

Chelsea said their turnover figure increased to £481.3m from £434.9m the previous year, primarily due to increased matchday and commercial revenue as fans returned to stadiums after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The club's commercial revenue also increased to £177.1m thanks to a net increase in sponsorship revenue from new contracts and existing partner renewals.

"The higher revenue was offset by increased operating expenses, including matchday and non-matchday costs that resulted from resumed operations and increased staff costs," the club added.

"The above contributed to the group recording a loss before player impairments and one-off expenses of £26.6m for the year ended 30 June 2022, and an overall net loss of £121.3m.

"Despite the loss in the year and the operating challenges due to the sanctions, the club continues to comply with UEFA and Premier League financial regulations."

Chelsea were bought by an investment group led by American businessman Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, which has invested more than £600m in player transfers across two windows.

The club are 10th in the Premier League but also through to the Champions League quarterfinals, where they face reigning champions Real Madrid next month.