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Chelsea debt free

Chelsea have announced that, as of the end of 2009, the club have cleared virtually all of their outstanding £340 million debt, and also revealed reduced losses for a fourth consecutive year.

Losses for the financial year were reduced from £65.7 million to £44.4 million, despite turnover falling from £213.1 million to £206.4 million.

A statement on the club's official website said: "The group results reveal that following previous conversions of half of the debt, the remainder of the interest-free loans from the parent company, whose ultimate controlling party is Roman Abramovich, have been converted into equity making the group effectively debt free.

"This demonstrates the continuing commitment from the shareholder to the group.

"Revenues remain stable despite the economic climate and reflect the strength of the team, its continued success and the attractiveness of the FA Premier League allied with the continued allegiance of our fans and commercial partners.

In a year that saw Chelsea spend little in the transfer market, the club's cash outflow was reduced from £107.4 million to £16.9 million, while the completion of projects such as the development of the training centre at Cobham reduced net capital expenditure from £85.1 million to £4.2 million.

Included in the results was the £12.6 million "exceptional" compensation payment made to sacked former boss Luis Felipe Scolari and three of his first-team coaches.

"The club's debt load has been reduced almost to nil in order to provide more long-term stability for the club," Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said.

"The reduction will also enable the club to comply with any regulations on debt levels which are being discussed by the football community."

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said: "It is still our aim to be self-sufficient and we will achieve this by increasing our revenues as we continue to leverage off our brand. We are reducing our costs by controlling expenses, including salaries and wages."

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