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Chelsea need top four finish

Football News 24/7
A top four finish is vital for Chelsea according to a report in today's Mail on Sunday.

Whilst former England boss Fabio Capello is the latest to be linked to the manager's post the big threat to Chelsea's finances is making Champions League football next season. Fourth place is no longer guaranteed following the draw with rivals Spurs at the weekend and unless Chelsea actually win the trophy they could well be out in the cold next season.

Under UEFA's new Financial Fair Play rules, which are unlikely to face legal challenges by the clubs after being backed by the European Commission last week, Roman Abarmovich's lavish subsidies of Chelsea will have to end, making Champions League qualification a must.

According to TMOS Chelsea made £37m from Champions League TV money alone last year, plus an estimated £25m from the matches. And next season looks like being a financial nightmare if they fail to qualify.

The went on to surmise that without that money there seems little hope of Chelsea meeting the criteria for UEFA's new rules unless the naming rights of Stamford Bridge can be sold for a huge sum. Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay has said he is confident of a deal this summer, but £10m a year would be a generous valuation and UE FA have already said they will outlaw any massively overvalued deal that looks like a disguised subsidy.

The FFP rules do not come into force until 2013 but it is this season's finances and next season's that will determine whether a club comply. Any club who do not will risk being excluded from UEFA competitions, including the Champions League.
Clubs will be allowed to lose a total of £35m in the first two years of UEFA's scheme - that is, this season and next. Exemptions mean Chelsea had been confident of meeting the new requirements even though they posted a £67.7m loss last year.

The club might even cut that loss to a few million pounds this season under UEFA's accounting rules. But take £37m out of the pot and it is difficult to see how they can make the grade.

One of the mitigating factors UEFA will take into account in deciding whether the rules have been broken is whether losses are heading in the right direction. But if Chelsea do not qualify for the Champions League, their losses are likely to grow rather than fall.

There is a lot at stake in the last two months of the season.



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