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Chelsea hurt by Cech's bad break

Published 05/02/2013 | 04:00

Chelsea have suffered a potentially serious setback in their attempt to secure a top-four Premier League finish following Petr Cech's withdrawal from the Czech Republic squad with a broken little finger.

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With 20-year-old Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois on loan for the season at Atletico Madrid, manager Rafael Benitez must decide whether to keep faith with Ross Turnbull as Cech's deputy or turn to Henrique Hilario.

Turnbull looked nervous and lacked authority when Cech recently missed successive 2-2 draws against League One Brentford in the FA Cup and then Reading in the league, but Hilario is now 37 and has not played since August 27, 2011.

UEFA reports major clubs failing Fair Play

European football has seen a 3pc revenue growth from 2010 to 2011. However, wages are increasing much faster than revenues, resulting in cumulative losses for top-flight clubs of €1.7bn.

As a consequence, 46 clubs, from 22 countries, would have failed UEFA's Financial Fair Play break-even test last season were it in place, with 14 being subject to sanction.

Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are likely to be among them, although none were named in UEFA's alarming annual report on club finances issued yesterday.

This review of the 733 top-flight clubs in 53 countries reveals that players' wages rose 38pc from 2007 to 2011, outstripping the 24pc revenue increase.

Salaries and net transfer costs now take 71pc of revenue.The average investment on youth development was estimated at 4pc (8pc for small clubs).

Irish Independent

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