sport

Chelsea wage bill below City's

Chelsea have been overtaken by Manchester City as the biggest payers in the Premier League, the Stamford Bridge club's accounts have confirmed.

The overall wages paid out by Chelsea in the year ending June 2012 actually fell by 18million to 171million - compared to Manchester City who saw their wages break through the 200million barrier.

Chelsea announced last year they had made a profit of 1.4million - the first time they had finished in the black in the Roman Abramovich era.

The full accounts lodged with Companies House on Wednesday reveal that was aided by a one-off 18.4million boost from the cancellation of shares owned by BSkyB.

The accounts also reveal that, aided by some one-off items, Chelsea also achieved a wage bill reduction for the first time since Abramovich took over in July 2003.

It reflects a big effort by the club to trim costs in their bid to comply with UEFA's financial fair play rules.

The numbers of playing and coaching staff dropped by 89 in 2011 to 69 in 2012, the accounts reveal.

Chelsea's wage bill is still ahead of Manchester United's 160million total by 11million, and removing all the exceptional items the overall trend is still slightly up - but only slightly.

The exceptional items in 2011 included a one-off 6.4million payment to the taxman as part of a deal on image rights, and money paid to former manager Carlo Ancelotti and his coaching team.

Those payments stopped after Ancelotti was hired by Paris St Germain and led to a credit of 4.7million into Chelsea's accounts from money they had set aside to cover those costs.

Alan Shaw, Chelsea's club secretary said in a statement published in the accounts: "The introduction of the UEFA financial fair play regulations from the 2012/13 season provides a significant challenge.

"The football club needs to balance success on the field together with financial imperatives of this new regime.

"The results recorded in this financial year put us in a good position to meet the assessment criteria for the initial periods."