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Oct 9, 2011

Blues accelerate cost-cutting

Bruce Buck says Chelsea are accelerating their plans for the post-Roman Abramovich era in the light of UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules.

• Buck: No decision on move
• Buck eyes Villas-Boas longevity

Chelsea have benefitted hugely from Abarmovich's funding since his takeover in 2003, but UEFA is cracking down on funds from benefactors in a bid to make clubs self-sufficient.

Former Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon had vowed to see the club break even by the 2010-11 season back in December 2008, but last year the club reported a loss of £70 million. With UEFA threatening to throw clubs out of the Champions League from 2014 if they spend beyond their means, Blues chairman Buck says they are working harder than ever to improve their financial plight.

"Even before [FFP] we were of the view we couldn't rely on Mr Abramovich forever," Buck said. "We had to figure out a way over the medium term to stand on our own two feet. Maybe Financial Fair Play is making us do that a little bit quicker.

"An academy costs maybe £5 million a year to run, so if you can get maybe one player every year or 18 months into the first team, look at the transfer fees you've saved. The economics are pretty clear. Implementing it is much more difficult."

He added: "We have to up our sponsorship income. We have to reduce our transfer fees, reduce our payroll and up our match-day revenues if we can. Naming rights could also be important."

Chelsea are also exploring the possibility of moving to a new stadium, although Buck has insisted that no decision has been taken on that front.

Meanwhile, Buck insists he is not overly concerned about a planned protest against ticket prices for the Champions League tie with Genk on October 19.

"We're comfortable that [Stamford Bridge] is going to be full," he said. "The manager, Andre Villas-Boas, looks on it as a big match and will want the fans to come and support the club.

"JT [John Terry] and all the other players recognise it's an important match and are asking fans to support them. I understand supporters saying they would prefer lower prices but we try to spread the balance. I think we've got it about right, but I do understand that some people would disagree."

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