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Bayern trounce Chelsea in balancing books

Bayern Munich clearly outshine rivals Chelsea when it comes to balancing the books.

England football club Chelsea. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Bayern Munich clearly outshine Champions League final opponents Chelsea when it comes to balancing the books, an issue that will increasingly shape European football in seasons to come.

Bayern, who have won Europe's elite club competition four times, pride themselves on having made a profit for 19 years in a row while loss-making London club Chelsea remain reliant on the deep pockets of Russian oligarch owner Roman Abramovich as they bid for a first Champions League title.

"The Bundesliga has created a sustainable model, something that ensures that clubs can finance their spending," said Emmanuel Hembert of global management consultancy A.T. Kearney.

"The English Premier League clubs have been very commercially astute. They are good at indentifying opportunities and developing revenues but the issue for them is more on the side of cost control," he added.

English clubs will have to mend their ways over coming seasons as European football's governing body UEFA applies new rules meaning teams must move towards break-even or risk exclusion from its elite competitions.

The English have a lot of ground to make up. Chelsea lost 67.7 million pounds in their last full financial year, while newly crowned champions Manchester City were in the red to the tune of almost 200 million pounds.

Bayern say they are already compliant with UEFA rules. They have little choice.

The Bundesliga has long had regulations in place forcing teams to balance their budgets. German clubs cannot be bankrolled by a foreign billionaire because no individual can own a majority of a club.

COMMERCIAL POWER

It would be wrong to portray the Bavarians as some kind of sporting poor relation.

Although more than 80 percent owned by ordinary members, German sportswear company Adidas and Volkswagen's luxury carmaker Audi provide heavyweight business backing, with nine percent stakes and members on the supervisory board.

Adidas are on to a winner on Saturday whatever happens as they are also Chelsea's kit supplier.

Bayern placed fourth and Chelsea sixth in terms of turnover in the latest financial money league from business services group Deloitte.

Bayern generated more revenue from commercial activities such as sponsorship than any other club. For Chelsea, by contrast, media supplied almost half of all revenues.

Bayern will profit in years to come from a much enhanced TV rights deal the Bundesliga signed last month, although it still trails the English Premier League in this regard.

Bayern are in the rare position of enjoying home advantage on Saturday, their 69,000 seater Allianz Arena having been chosen to host the game before they reached the final.

Abramovich would be forgiven for casting an envious glance around the stadium, built for the 2006 World Cup and offering business class comfort for corporate clients and safe standing areas for hard-core fans.

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