'Appalling': Anger as record spenders Chelsea axe fan bus subsidy

Credit: PA

By Rachel Dixon, Multimedia Producer

Chelsea football fans have slammed the club's "appalling" decision to scrap their coach subsidy for supporters travelling to away matches.

The record breaking spenders, who forked out over £344 million in player transfers fees this season, announced on Tuesday that it would stop paying to help fans to buy tickets for travel.

Despite arguments from the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST) and coach users, the club has decided that continuing to pay the £10 subsidy would not be “financially sustainable”.

Fans have described the move as "penny-pinching", saying it will have an impact on vulnerable, disabled and young Chelsea supporters

Credit: PA

On Wednesday, CST said: "The appalling decision will force those who rely on the service to pay significantly more to travel to away fixtures.

"Despite representations from The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST) and coach users, CFC has unfortunately decided that maintaining the £10 subsidy is not 'financially sustainable'.

"It is important to note that this decision was made in the same year that the club broke the transfer record twice. It is widely rumoured that the coach subsidy budget was approximately 250k."

It added: "It appears that during a cost-of-living crisis, Chelsea FC are happy to increase the financial burden on many supporters by penny-pinching."

The first coach offered for the season will be for Bournemouth vs Chelsea on 17 September.

It would cost £29 per person, however, the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust has agreed to subsidise this game for anyone who wants to travel, so the fare will be £10.

The price for coach travel to future games will now be determined when tickets go on sale, according to Chelsea Football Club.

In a statement Chelsea confirmed it would continue to run the coach service.

It said: "We are aware the coaches are a valuable tool that many supporters rely upon, and the majority of those we engaged with asked the club to continue to offer the coach services.

"After reviewing this feedback and recognising how important the ability to travel by coach is, the club has committed to offering the service for the 23/24 season for selected men’s and women’s away fixtures."

It said the booking process for coach travel will be mostly unchanged; however, bookings will now be processed without payment and money will be taken once the minimum number of supporters required has been met.

How much has Chelsea FC paid for players this season?

While the club has said the estimated £250,000 fee for coach travel was 'not financially sustainable', it has been splashing the cash during transfer windows.

Chelsea owner Todd Boehly before the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London. Credit: PA

Twice this year Chelsea has broken the transfer record, forking out an initial £100million, possibly rising to £115m, after the signing of Moises Caicedo from Brighton.

In January, they broke the record by signing World Cup-winner Enzo Fernández from Benfica in a deal worth £106.8m.The club has paid out hundreds of millions of pounds for players just this summer, the highest four being:

  • Moises Caicedo of Brighton for £100 million;

  • Romeo Lavia of Southampton for £53 million;

  • Christopher Nkunku of RB Leipzig for £51 million;

  • Axel Disasi of Monaco for £38 million.

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