LONDON: Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said the London club were due a big financial boost as a result of their “phenomenal” Champions League semi-final win over Barcelona.
The Blues are set for the biggest television cash pay-out for reaching the final of at least £45m ($73 m, ) after a dramatic 2-2 draw in Barcelona on Tuesday, where they played most of the match with 10 men after captain John Terry was sent off. That result gave them a 3-2 aggregate win and a place in the final against either Bayern Munich or Real Madrid.
The £45m represents European football governing body UEFA’s payments of TV cash alone and studies have shown the clubs can double that income from ticket sales, sponsorship and merchandise.
Manchester United had previously held the record pay-out of Champions League television cash at £43.5m last season, but this year earned only £28m as a result of failing to qualify for the knockout stages.
English clubs have topped Champions League television payments for several years as a result of the sums paid by commercial broadcasters Sky and ITV.
However, with Chelsea currently outside the top four in the English Premier League they may have to win this season’s Champions League final if they are to qualify for next term’s tournament.
And with UEFA set to introduce financial fair play rules designed to cap the influence of wealthy owners such as Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich and the Blues based at a Stamford Bridge ground that holds less than half of Barcelona’s near 100,000-capacity Camp Nou, Gourlay also urged fans to reconsider their opposition to a new stadium. “To find ourselves in the final has given the club a fabulous lift, and the fans as well,” Gourlay told Chelsea’s official website. “Financially, as well, it is a big boost for the club. It helps us continue our investment in the team as we go forward but we still have the challenge of making sure we are in this competition next year, and that is very important.”
And he added a significant increase in stadium size, which Chelsea insist cannot be done at their existing west-London home of Stamford Bridge, was part of the process of strengthening the club’s finances.
“The way Chelsea has geared ourselves up the last few years puts us in a good position to take the club forward but, at the same time, remaining in the elite teams in the future is a challenge because it is no secret that while we are the fifth or sixth biggest club in Europe from a financial point of view, our stadium is outside the top 30 at this present time,” Gourlay said. “The money generated from matchday through the stadiums is considerable. If we are not able to take the money on matchday then we have to look at other parts of the business to generate the revenues and allow us to continue the circle of success to invest into the team to give the results or entice sponsors to come to the club.”afp