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Chelsea announce £32.5m profit for 2019-20 financial year

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But the impact of COVID-19 is only beginning to be felt

Chelsea v Liverpool - FA Cup - Fifth Round - Stamford Bridge Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

Chelsea Football Club were on track for record turnover and record profit for the financial year ending June 30, 2020, but thanks to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to settle for just a little over £400m in revenues, a drop of nearly £40m (10 per cent) from the previous year’s record numbers.

The club still posted a £32.5m profit, as confirmed by the statement released on the Chelsea official website today, which attributes that number to Champions League qualification and player sales. The latter has been the biggest driving factor to Chelsea’s income and profit over the past several seasons, though the Champions League itself was worth around €50m more than the Europa League.

While Chelsea haven’t had to worry about finances since 2003, it’s great to see the club post a profit after the £100m+ loss last fiscal year — and without putting anyone on furlough during the pandemic! It’s only the fifth time in the Abramovich Era that we’ve actually posted a profit after 2012, 2014, 2017, and 2018, but as that trend shows, we’re certainly moving in the right, self-sustaining direction.

Unfortunately, the immediate future looks a little less rosy, as COVID-19 continues to rage on and its impact continues to shift the financial and societal landscapes in sport, football, and life in general.

The pandemic only affected 4 of the 12 months of the 2020 financial year. It’s already affected half of the 2021 financial year, and it’s looking likely to drag on for several more months at least — depending on how quickly we can distribute and administer the vaccines, and just how effective those will prove in reopening the economy and what this new normal might actually look like.

With the associated drops in matchday income, merchandising, and most importantly broadcast revenues — the club’s statement notes that deferred rebates are also due to broadcasters on previously agreed contracts because of the pandemic — the 2021 financial year could be a tough one to navigate. Add in Chelsea’s £200m spending spree over the summer transfer window, and we might be looking at another big swing in profitability twelve months from now. (Our new shirt sponsorship won’t have much of an impact there, and the Nike contract remains the same as before as well.)

Chelsea do note that we remain FFP compliant, and as we know, UEFA have suspended FFP accounting for at least this season. So we probably don’t have to worry too much in that regard, and as we learned from Manchester City, we can just have Abramovich sponsor himself with one of his companies anyway if needed.