Chelsea fans would have undoubtedly liked to have headed into the month of November focusing on further, and more swift, improvement in the clubs form under manager Mauricio Pochettino, but as October came to an end it was officially confirmed that the club had self reported to the Premier League over potential Financial Fair Play breaches pertaining to the 2013 transfers of Samuel Eto’o and Willian.
This information has now been added to the existing PL investigation into potential breaches that remains ongoing, and the club were in fact fined £8.6 million by UEFA back in July as a result of ‘submitting incomplete financial information’ between 2012 and 2019.
A statement by new Chelsea owners Todd Boehly and the Clearlake group have clearly stated that the allegations ‘pre-date the current ownership’ and ‘do not relate to any individual who is presently at the club’.
It is believed this new information came to light following their takeover in May 2022, and that it was immediately reported to the authorities at the point. This news is not entirely new, as the league’s investigation into the club was confirmed in August, and as reported by The Times, Cameroon striker Eto’o and Brazil midfielder Willian were spoken about as being transfers of potential interest – both came in under the ownership of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich during his 2003 to 2022 spell in charge, and both were signed from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.
Chelsea’s statement, now this information has been confirmed, reads.
“These allegations pre-date the club’s current ownership. They concern entities that were allegedly controlled by the club’s former owner and do not relate to any individual who is presently at the club. Chelsea FC’s ownership group completed its purchase of the club on May 30, 2022. During a thorough due diligence process prior to completion of the purchase, the ownership group became aware of potentially incomplete financial reporting concerning historical transactions during the club’s previous ownership. Immediately following the completion of the purchase, the club proactively self-reported these matters to all applicable football regulators.”
The statement added.
“In accordance with the club’s ownership group’s core principles of full compliance and transparency the club has proactively assisted the applicable regulators with their investigations and will continue to do so.”
Regulars at Stamford Bridge will undoubtedly regard this as yet another off pitch distraction, as in the wider world of football the incredible level of spending since the takeover took place is certainly being looked at closely, but for others in the game, they will be wondering why supposed smaller clubs gets speedily hammered for any breaches of the regulations, yet some more media favoured clubs, rarely ever seem to get serious charges (or punishments) that match the serious, and longstanding, allegations that have been made.
At some point the Premier League will realise FFP is a failed experiment that has not increased fairness, simply because the regulations themselves promote an unfair playing field by their unfortunate design.
There has to be a better way.