£18.4m share deal key to Chelsea profit

CHELSEA’S eyebrow-raising first profit since their 2003 takeover by big-spending Roman Abramovich was achieved in part due to the proceeds of an £18.4m share deal, it emerged yesterday.

The cancellation of non-equity preference shares that broadcaster BSkyB held in a digital media joint venture resulted in paper profits of £15m, plus £3.4m of dividends from those shares.

Chelsea’s maiden Champions League success and transfer profits of £28.8m, from the sales of Nicolas Anelka, Alex, Yuri Zhirkhov and Slobodan Rajkovic, also played major roles in moving into the black last season – as the club announced in November.

But it had not been known before accounts were lodged yesterday at Companies House that the share deal existed, or that it had been decisive in turning a £17m loss into a £1.4m profit.

The results still support the Blues’ confidence that they will meet financial fair play laws that stipulate clubs cannot make a loss of more than €45m (£37m) for the period 2011-13, or face a European ban.

Meanwhile Italy star Andrea Pirlo insists he would welcome Frank Lampard at Juventus, and that Chelsea would be “mad to let him go”. Midfielder Lampard, 34, is not expected to be offered an extension to his current contract, which expires in the summer

Pirlo said: “He’s still one of the best in the world. If he wants to play in Italy I would welcome him to Juventus with open arms. Lampard could have another four years at the top in Italy.”