The group turnover figure fell to £407.4m from £446.7m the previous year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which impacted all revenue streams of the Group. Despite the fall in revenue, the Group recorded a profit of £32.5m for the year ended 30 June 2020, reflecting the Club’s qualification to the Champions League and profits made on a number of player sales during the 2020 financial year.
The Club continues to comply with UEFA’s break-even criteria under the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
The impact of COVID-19 on revenue was partially offset by reduced matchday costs due to the postponement of matches in March 2020. However, the club elected not to make use of the government job retention scheme, despite paying the wages of full time and temporary staff who were not required to work, throughout the 2020 financial year.
Without the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent suspension of normal football activity in March, club projections show a record profit and record turnover would have been achieved, which would have represented an increase in revenue for a fifth year in succession.
Broadcasting and matchday revenues decreased by £17.6m and £12.2m respectively, primarily as a result of the suspension of the 2019/20 season in March 2020. This resulted in the final four home league games of the season and the conclusion of both The FA Cup and Champions League taking place behind closed doors, the majority in the 2021 financial year. There was a complete loss of ticket and other match day revenue for the affected games, due to rebates or credits being provided to supporters. In addition, rebates have been recognised which are due to domestic and overseas broadcasters, this has been proportioned over the number of matches played in season 19/20, therefore an element has been deferred to the 2021 financial year.
Revenue from commercial activities fell by £9.5m, driven by the effects of the closure of non-match day activities in March 2020, as well as decreased pre-season revenue and a decrease in player loan fee income. This was offset by a net increase in sponsorship revenue from new and existing partner renewals.
The Club invested £93.7m in the playing squad during the 2020 financial year, including existing player contract renegotiations.
Chairman Bruce Buck said: ‘In common with many, many businesses across the globe, the pandemic has had a significant impact on Chelsea’s income but it is a sign of the strength and stability of our financial operation that the company was still able to post a profit in the past financial year. This was done while continuing to invest in our playing staff and indeed had normal football not halted in March, projections show a record profit and record turnover would have been achieved. That would have represented an increase in revenue for a fifth year in succession.
‘Despite the impact of COVID, the revenue streams remained strong, our team is developing on the pitch and the Club is in a good position to continue to grow when football is able to operate as it did previously, a time we are all looking forward to.’