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Chelsea reports $81.6 million loss in 2013 fiscal year

Dec 31, 2013, 5:59 PM EDT

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Despite record turnover of near $425 million, Chelsea have reported a loss of $81.6 million for the year ending in June 2013, a number sure to raise eyebrows of those conscious of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play guidelines. Club officials, however, pointed out the profit the club made in 2012 helps the team stay within the European governing body’s financial guidelines, steering the Blues clear of possible long-term repercussions on their Champions League eligibility.

According to a statement from Chelsea, the team’s inability to advance past the group stage of the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League played a major part in the club’s financial downturn despite an increase in income.

“[A] 19 percent rise in commercial income from 67 million to 79.6 million pounds is a clear indication Chelsea is moving in the right direction in terms of business growth,” the club said in its Tuesday statement, “as is a turnover figure that increased for a fourth consecutive year despite diminished European competition revenue.”

Financial Fair Play regulations say teams can lose no more than €45 million ($61.9 million) each year, but as club communications head Steve Adkins told Reuters, “complicated accounting rules” mean Chelsea’s “actual loss” was $56.2 million, keeping them within UEFA’s guidelines.

“The latest financial result combined with the previous year’s profit of 1.4 million pounds means for the first monitoring period for FFP regulations – which spans the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons – we will fall comfortably within the break-even criteria set by UEFA,” Chelsea affirmed on their web site.

That Chelsea have been one of the world’s most aggressive spenders highlights how lenient Financial Fair Play’s restrictions are, the Blues able to comply with the guidelines despite missing out on significant Champions League revenues. Few teams, however, are experiencing the same commercial growth as Roman Abramovich’s club, with figures published by Deloitte showing Chelsea have the fifth highest annual revenues in world soccer.

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