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Kenyon says Chelsea in position to buy players

CHIEF executive Peter Kenyon signaled Chelsea was in position to add players during the summer transfer market to compete with Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Kenyon had said last month that any restructuring would be funded by sales. Chelsea said on Feb. 13 that it lost 65.7 million pounds (US$131 million) last season.

"I think we're in a great good financial state," Kenyon said yesterday following a news conference to announce a four-match, nine-day summer US tour. "I think we'll see some transfer activity in the summer, because I think that's an important way of moving the team forward. I think it's business as usual."

Chelsea will play the new Seattle team on July 18, then face Inter Milan at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on July 21. It meets AC Milan on July 24 at Baltimore, then concludes against Mexico's America at the Dallas Cowboys' new grounds in Arlington, Texas, on July 26.

Kenyon said it would be good preparation for either the Community Shield on Aug. 9 or the start of the English Premier League season on Aug. 15.

"We can't stress enough the fantastic sports facilities that exist here in the US As a consequence of that, preseason training is aided rather than hampered," he said.

He sidestepped questions about whether Chelsea owner Ramon Abramovich had met with AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti. Chelsea fired coach Luiz Felipe Scolari on Feb. 9 and replaced him on an interim basis with Russia coach Guus Hiddink, who agreed to stay at Stamford Bridge through the end of the season.

"I don't want to comment," Kenyon said. "We're concentrating on Guus being with us until the end of the season, and then we'll be looking at what the long-term process are."

He also wouldn't discuss whether Hiddink could remain with the Blues beyond May.

"All the focus is for him to come in in the interim period and complete his task, but there's no plans for him to stay any longer," Kenyon said. "There's been no discussions, at all. I think he and we wanted to just really concentrate on this three-month period, which is critical. We're still in all the competitions. He's completely focused on that."

Kenyon also said that he didn't see easy progress for FIFA president Sepp Blatter's six-plus-five proposal, which would require clubs to start at least six players with the nationality of the club's country.

"We're committed to youth football. We're committed to developing our own talent. As Chelsea, we are committed to having the core of our team being English," he said. "We think the six-plus-five rule is extremely difficult to implement across Europe because of the very many different labor laws that exist, and discussions are ongoing."


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