Chelsea have claimed UK government sanctions imposed on their former owner Roman Abramovich were a factor in them posting losses of £121m for the 2021-22 season. Abramovich was sanctioned in March last year as the government sought to freeze the assets of individuals believed to have connections to Vladimir Putin after the invasion of Ukraine.
Chelsea were placed under a special licence that restricted their ability to sell tickets, accept event bookings and sign contracts with players. The restrictions remained in place until 30 May when a consortium led by the American businessman Todd Boehly completed its £4.25bn takeover of the club.
Chelsea said turnover had increased to £481.3m, from £434.9m, despite the sanctions and commercial revenue increased to £177.1m. The losses were attributed to increased operating expenses.
The financial results do not capture Chelsea’s summer 2022 or January 2023 acquisitions, when they spent more than £500m on new players. The 2021-22 results show £118m was invested in the squad, but a profit of £123m was made on sales, including Tammy Abraham, Marc Guehi, Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma.
Chelsea said they continued to comply with Uefa and Premier League financial regulations despite the losses and the impact of the government sanctions. The club also said the effects of the sanctions on their financial results would continue to be felt “in the following years”.