31 Dec 2009

Chelsea almost debt free

10:22 am on 31 December 2009

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has erased virtually all of the English Premier League football club's $757 million debt, according to the 2009 financial figures.

Russian billionaire Abramovich, who reduced the club's debts by half last year, was reported to be owed the money as an interest-free loan, but that has now been turned into shares to make Chelsea all but debt free.

Chelsea claim Abramovich's move "demonstrates the continuing commitment from the shareholder to the group" and it removes any fears of a financial meltdown if the tycoon, who bought the west London club in 2003, ever decided to walk away.

During his six-year ownership, Abramovich had bankrolled massive spending in the transfer market which helped Chelsea win the Premier League in 2005 and 2006, but he has kept a tighter hold on the Stamford Bridge cheque book over the last year.