Chelsea's full accounts have revealed the scale of the challenge they face in fulfilling a long-held promise to eventually become self-sustaining, showing that wages continued to rise and that the club subsequently lavished more than £56m on players after the accounting period closed.
The club revealed at the end of last month they had made a £49.4m loss in the year to 30 June 2013, compared to a modest profit of £1.4m a year earlier that was the first of the Roman Abramovich era, but claimed they remained on track to meet Uefa's new break-even rules.
Yet the full accounts, lodged this week at Companies House, show that the loss – put down to a range of factors including an early exit from the Champions League that hit broadcasting income – was recorded despite a £14.5m profit on transfers during the financial year.
The notes to the accounts also reveal that since 30 June the club have spent more than £56m on players including Willian and Marco van Ginkel and received just £673,000 in transfer income.
Transfer fees can be amortised over the length of a players' contract for accounting purposes, so have less impact onUefa's Financial Fair Play calculations than wages.
The accounts show that matchday income dropped to £70.7m from £77.7m the previous year, when they won the European Cup, and broadcasting income fell to £105.4m from £112.8m. They also record a £4m "provision for termination payments and compensation" that presumably relates to the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo during the season.
The club argue that a 19% rise in annual commercial income to £79.6m and a turnover figure of £255.8m that was only marginally down on the previous year show they are moving in the right direction. Nor do the figures include a recently signed £300m, 10-year kit deal with Adidas.
Chelsea are confidentthat despite tumbling into the red again, they will comply with the acceptable €45m (currently £37.5m) "deviation" permitted during Uefa's first two-year accounting period once allowable expenditure on youth development, infrastructure and charitable giving are excluded from the total.
But the rising wage bill – which went up to £176.6m, a modest increase of £5.5m - and the latest splurge on players will raise questions over their ability to comply in the coming seasons.
Uefa makes its calculations on a rolling basis and the next accounting period will take in the three years covering 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14, again with a total permitted deviation of €45m (currently £37.5m).
Abramovich has ploughed well over £1bn in the club over his decade as owner, but Chelsea's chairman Bruce Buck has insisted their long-term goal is to become self-sustaining.