Chelsea have posted losses of £11.3 million in the six months to end of December 2002, trebling their losses for the comparative period last year.

Chelsea, which operates the Chelsea Village business that includes hotel and banqueting facilities, reported losses of £11.3 million compared to a loss of £4 million for the equivalent period in 2001.

“The legacy of excessive player contractual costs and a moribund transfer market, exacerbated by theintroduction of transfer windows, are significant factors impacting our short term performance,” said chairman Ken Bates in a statement.

Turnover fell by six percent to £53.6 million, mainly because of a downturn in the club’s travel agency business. The club are hoping their financial position will improve next year but much will depend upon Chelsea qualifying for next season’s Champions League. They currently lie fourth in the Premier League, on course to qualify for Europe’s most prestigious competition.