Euro 2020 Special

Chelsea Asked to Be Excused From Premier League Spending Limits

Chelsea intend to ask the Premier League for an exemption when they submit their annual accounts at the end of the season.

Under Premier League rules, clubs are permitted to lose a maximum of £105 million over a three year period, and they are potentially at risk of breaching that because of the unusual circumstances they found themselves in towards the end of last season.

That was when previous owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the club was placed under special measures whilst the sale process was completed.


Their case

The basis of their case is that whilst the club was effectively being run under government control, they were unable to receive any money, either in the form of gate money or their share of the lucrative TV rights.

The situation was eventually resolved when the club was sold to a consortium led by the American businessman, for a fee of £4.25 billion.

In their last accounts for the year ended 2021 Chelsea recorded losses of £153.4 million, but, like a number of clubs, the Premier League granted them some allowances for the impact on their finances of the global pandemic, which forced them to play behind closed doors for the best part of the year, and agree to a rebate on the TV rights deal.

It is not clear yet how the Premier League will react, but their argument is likely to get short shrift from many of their Premier League rivals.

When asked about Chelsea’s recent splurge in the January transfer window, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola did not hold back. Recalling when City received a ban from UEFA for breaching FFP (Financial fair Play) rules in the 2019/2020 season, nine clubs, including Chelsea, sent a letter which effectively prevented City from appealing the penalty.

He said “there are regulations, I don’t forget, eight or nine teams sent a letter for us to be banned.”


FFP Concerns

Chelsea may have their own issues with European FFP rules. They had already found themselves on a watchlist of clubs in danger of breaking the rules, and that was before their unprecedented spend in the January window.

Champions League qualification looking unlikely

That situation may get worse if they fail to qualify for the Champions League next season, which, at least via the league route, is looking increasingly unlikely.

Their goalless home draw with Fulham on Friday night left them 9th in the Premier League, nine points off the top four but having played a game more than all the other teams above them.

Despite all the talent that they were able to put on the pitch – new signings Enzo Fernandez, Mykhailo Mudryk and Benoît Badiashile all started, with David Datro Fofana and Noni Madueke both came off the bench, the team still lacks a cutting edge.

22 goals in the Premier League so far tells its own story (even 15th placed Leeds United have scored more).

Although striker Christopher Nkunku will be joining the club from RB Leipzig, he does not arrive until the summer, so they are stuck with what they have for the rest of the campaign.

Graham Potter’s team remains a dysfunctional side, and it will take time for him to integrate all the new faces. Fortunately for the Englishman, the new owners appear to be more patient that their predecessor, who was notorious for firing managers after any short-term dip in results.


Resentment about Chelsea and Premier League spending abroad

There has been widespread resentment about the Premier League spending, and Chelsea’s in particular from abroad.

The president of La Liga Javier Tebas, has warned that the Premier League is not financially viable, and has vowed to fight the rules that have allowed English clubs, despite making losses, to distort the transfer market.

He may be swimming against the tide.

In the recent list of the richest clubs in the world by revenue for 2021, a majority of the top 20 came from one league for the first time – the Premier League. In fact, 16 out of the top 30 were premier League clubs, and the reports’ authors have advised they expect the list soon to feature all 20 Premier League sides.




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