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Abramovich sacks 15 Chelsea staff and Scolari must raise cash for new players

Chelsea have axed nearly two-thirds of their international scouting staff in the first sign that billionaire owner Roman Abramovich may be losing patience with his club's towering levels of debt - including the £578 million that is owed to him.

In all, 15 of Chelsea's 25-strong global scouting network were made redundant on Friday, including former German international Rainer Bonhoff and others earning up to £100,000 a year.

At the same time, manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, whose team trounced Sunderland 5-0 yesterday, has been told that he cannot spend money in the transfer window in January because of the credit crunch, evidence that even the biggest-spending club in the world are having to rein in their budget.

Even before the current squeeze, Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon had insisted that Abramovich's aim was to balance Chelsea's books by 2010, an ambition that looks increasingly unlikely to be met. The club announced losses of £74m earlier this year and are carrying £736m of debt.

Sacking the scouts will only scratch the surface of that figure but the move still represents a major change of strategy by the club, who appointed Frank Arnesen as chief scout and director of youth development in 2005.

A Chelsea spokesman confirmed the redundancies, adding: 'We are restructuring our scouting network in order to re-focus priorities on key targets and in key territories.'

Scolari appears relaxed about the new financial constraints.

He said: 'It's not (just) Chelsea who are not spending money. I think all the clubs in the world will not spend as much as they spent before.

'The situation in the world is different to six months ago. The players need to be thinking about this and the clubs need to be thinking about this.'

The Brazilian insists that he needs new players after missing out on Robinho to Manchester City in August but is prepared to sell in order to buy.

He said: 'In football sometimes you don't need money to make a good change. I'm happy with the way Chelsea are thinking, which is different than before.'

Abramovich, whose personal fortune is estimated at more than £11billion, was reported to have lost £12m in last month's collapse of financial markets, mainly related to his ownership of the steel company, Evraz Group.

A spokesman for Abramovich has disputed the figure, saying that it represented only a 'paper loss' of share values.


7,534 Posts
he's just tightening his belt i for not buying players,i don't think they need any,look how good they are,even with their big boys out of action.they've a great squad,and i think they will only get stronger now.

11,207 Posts
OK this article a joke?

Everyone knows Chelsea just uses football manager and manchester united to do their scouting! :D

Bloody *******s, if we have a few extra pounds lying around we should sign one of the scouts, just to get their testimony that they were merely sent to follow up on Manchester United targets.

People who work for Chelsea FC are sons of whores with no manners!
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