Chelsea to turn to academy rather than spend

Chelsea's place among the world's elite clubs must rely more on producing players from their academy than big-money signings to comply with UEFA's financial fair play rules, club chief executive Ron Gourlay said on Tuesday.

In an interview to mark Chelsea's 10 years of ownership under big-spending Roman Abramovich, Gourlay told the club website: "Mr Abramovich's early investment in playing staff paid dividends in creating a team admired around the world.

"But to keep Chelsea among the elite we have always known we must produce our own world-class talent and we are beginning to see the benefits of our academy."

Investment in the academy would help "long-term objectives for financial fair play", he added.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, back at the club after being in charge at Real Madrid, has already embraced the new philosophy, saying he needed to look at improving the existing players at the club.

"[My role] is not to say to Mr Abramovich and members of the board, I need some money with a lot of zeros," Mourinho, who led Chelsea to successive Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006, said on his return to the London club last month.

Financial fair play rules will be imposed by European football's governing body UEFA next season. They are designed to stop reckless spending on wages and transfer fees and curb large cash injections from rich club owners.

Spending cannot exceed revenue from TV rights, gate receipts, competition prize money and sponsorship. Clubs who break this rule face expulsion from European competition.

The first game of Mourinho's second term will be in Bangkok on July 17 when the club play a Thailand all-star team as part of a tour of Asia that takes in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta.


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