Chelsea's much vaunted first profit of the Roman Abramovich era from their Champions League-winning year was only achieved as a result of one-off exceptional items, including a £18.4m paper profit on cancelled shares in a digital media joint venture with BSkyB.

When Chelsea unveiled their top-line figures in November, the Premier League club said the £1.4m profit was the result of their European success, a sizeable profit on transfers and improved commercial deals. Ron Gourlay, Chelsea's chief executive, said at the time the figures, which compared with a loss of £67.7m the previous season, showed the club was on course to comply with Uefa's financial fair play rules.

But the full accounts, lodged at Companies House on Wednesday, show that the profit stemmed partly from the cancellation of £15m in shares held by BSkyB in a digital media joint venture that the club took full control of and £3.4m of dividends from those shares.

Another one-off item, £4.7m in cash earmarked for payments to former managers that was clawed back when they found new employment, also boosted income (although it was offset by a one-off £1.8m charge on player registrations). Without these items, a £1.4m profit would have become a £19.9m loss.

While the figures still support the club's case that they are controlling costs and moving towards a sustainable model that would comply with Uefa's rules – wages rose by just £8m to £176m, for example – critics will claim it is disingenuous to publish the top-line figures without accompanying accounts. The accounts also show that transfer profits of £28.8m were achieved by the sales of Yury Zhirkov, Slobodan Rajkovic, Alex and Nicolas Anelka.

Since the end of the end of the accounting period to end of June 2012, the club spent £42.96m on six players and recouped just £539,000, plus a further £1.477m from former players' sell-on clauses.

So Chelsea are unlikely to break even in the current financial year, particularly as their Champions League campaign ended at the group stages. The new financial fair play rules allow clubs to lose only €45m over a three-year period, provided losses are covered by a benefactor.

Alan Shaw, Chelsea's club secretary, said in a statement published in its accounts: "The football club needs to balance success on the field together with financial imperatives of this new regime. The results recorded in this financial year put us in a good position to meet the assessment criteria for the initial periods."

Roman Abramovich is estimated to have sunk more than £1bn into the club since buying Chelsea nine years ago. Yet the accounts reveal that the Russian billionaire's huge investment does not earn him a discount on his corporate box at Stamford Bridge – it cost him £3m in 2011-12.