LONDON (Reuters) – Sacking Italian manager Antonio Conte in July 2018 cost Chelsea 26.6 million pounds in compensation and legal fees, according to the Premier League club’s accounts for the 2018-19 season.

Conte joined the West Londoners in 2016, and won the league in 2017, but was dismissed with 12 months to run on his contract.

Fellow-Italian Maurizio Sarri, his replacement, lasted a season before moving to Juventus.

The accounts, published on the Companies House website, said exceptional items of 26.6 million pounds related to “changes in respect of the men’s team management and coaching staff, together with associated legal costs.”

Former Italy midfielder Conte is now coaching Serie A side Inter Milan.

Exceptional items in the previous year of 6.0 million related entirely to the buyback of retail, licensing and sponsorship rights.

The accounts also showed Chelsea received 247 million pounds of increased funding from Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich in the year covered.

“The company has received confirmation from its parent undertaking that sufficient funds will be provided to finance the business for the foreseeable future,” the accounts added.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the firing of nine permanent managers in the Abramovich era had cost more than 90 million pounds.

The club made a loss of 96 million pounds after taxation, compared to a 60.1 million profit in 2017-18 and said this was due mainly to increased wages and salary costs as well as reduced profit on player sales.

Matchday income fell by 7.0 million and broadcasting income dropped by 4.0 million, with Chelsea playing in the Europa League last season compared to the previous year’s more lucrative Champions League.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)

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