Chelsea Posts Loss Of $95M

Chelsea made a ?65.7 million ($95 million) loss as owner Roman Abramovich converted half his interest-free loans to the London team into equity, the Premier League football club said in a statement Friday.

The loss for the year to June 30, 2008, fell by 12 percent as revenue rose 12 percent to a record ?213.1 million on higher broadcast income.

Chelsea, unprofitable since Abramovich took ownership in 2003, said last year that it aimed to break even before 2009-10. Abramovich's move to reduce his loans to Chelsea to ?339.8 million showed his dedication, chairman Bruce Buck said. "There should now be no doubt as to the owner's commitment to the club and the stability of the company's funding structure," Buck said.

Abramovich, 42, fired Luiz Felipe Scolari on Feb. 9 after the team slipped to fourth in the league. Russia coach Guus Hiddink will lead Chelsea until the end of the season. Hiddink said in an interview Sunday that he planned to retire after the 2010 World Cup.

Chelsea parted company with Jose Mourinho in 2007 after he led the team to two straight Premier League titles and fired his replacement Avram Grant eight months later. Their departures, along with five other coaching staff, cost ?23.1 million in severance payments, Chelsea said Friday. Abramovich has spent about $840 million on the club since 2003.

(Bloomberg, Reuters)