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Champions League Finalists Carrying $3 Billion Of Debt
The Guardian, May 20th, 2008 2:45PM

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Is Manchester United really such a thriving company? David Conn lays out the amount of debt that the two English teams will be carrying into Wednesday's final. He says that the accounts of Chelsea Limited show that the club owes £736 million ($1.472 billion) to its creditors, while United's recently filed accounts show total creditors at £764 million ($1.528 million) for a total of around $3 billion between the two teams.
 
Chelsea owes its owner Roman Abramovich the lion's share at £578 million ($1.152 billion), which he put into the club as an interest free loan, but at least they don't owe "external debt" to any bank. Its chief executive, Peter Kenyon, says that with "the company being external debt free and our ownership clearly demonstrating continuing commitment to the long term, I am very confident about the future."
 
United, by contrast, owes £666 million ($1.332 billion) to financial institutions that was taken on by the Glazer family so that they could buy the club in 2005, "then loaded on to United itself." Much of the profit the club makes has to go into servicing the huge amounts of interest on those loans.  In that respect, Chelsea looks much better placed financially. "However," Conn writes, "there is no doubt that the club remains wholly reliant on 0520sect 2 continued funding. If the owner's enthusiasm were ever to wane, and Abramovich decided he did want his loan back, the accounts show that Chelsea would have 18 months to find the money."

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