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Why Chelsea could willingly accept European ban like AC Milan

Why Chelsea could willingly accept European ban like AC Milan

Chelsea could win a place in the Europa Conference League if they beat Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final.

Chelsea will secure a place in the Europa Conference League qualifying rounds if they lift the Carabao Cup, but a football finance expert believes "it could be in their interests" to follow in the footsteps of AC Milan.

Mauricio Pochettino's side could secure European football on Sunday afternoon if they beat Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final.

To many, a spot in the play-off round of the Europa Conference League would be seen as a success given their struggles in the league of late.

But questions have been raised as to whether the club are in a position financially to feature.

As mentioned by The Athletic, Chelsea’s players are likely to have bonuses included in their contracts that are tied to European qualification.

This will obviously have an impact on the club’s overall salary cost – not to mention their ability to comply with UEFA’s club licensing and financial sustainability regulations.

As things stand, the West London club are only required to comply with the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules.

But they will must also comply with UEFA’s club licensing and financial sustainability regulations if they do qualify for the Europa Conference League, or another one of Europe's competitions.

Kieran Maguire, a football finance expert, believes it may be in Chelsea's interest to go down the same route as AC Milan.

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

Back in 2019, AC Milan voluntarily accepted a one-year ban from all European competitions for breaching UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules, meaning they did not participate in the 2019-20 Europa League.

“It could be in Chelsea’s interests to do the same as Milan,” Maguire told The Athletic.

“We’re moving into the realms of three-dimensional chess here, which some clubs are capable of playing.

“By the time you pay the players’ bonuses for qualifying for the competition, transport, accommodation and other costs, you’re only making a small amount of money from the Conference League.

"You’ll struggle to get a decent number of fans to attend Stamford Bridge if the opposition is modest. That isn’t a criticism of them. It’s modern-day economics.

“If they are exceeding the UEFA limits, the question becomes: ‘Do we want to go and play in the Conference League next season?’. Because they won’t make any money from it.”

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

Last year, Fellow football finance expert Swiss Ramble forecasted huge sanctions against Chelsea, having predicted a record FFP rule breach, and said significant player sales will be required before June 30 to meet that objective.

If they are found to fall foul of FFP's regulations around losses, Chelsea could be hit with a potential points deduction and a transfer ban.

Back in August, we asked finance expert Kieran Maguire to offer an analysis of the situation and offer context around Chelsea's spending to this point under Boehly.

"Here’s an attempt to add to the debate, which I will attempt to keep as simple as possible and focus on the Premier League position (the UEFA rules are different).

"Under Premier League rules, a club cannot lose more than £15 million over a rolling three-year assessment period. However, if owners are willing to put money into the club in the form of shares (which never have to be repaid) instead of loans (which do have to be repaid) then the losses can be increased to a maximum of £105 million.

"A quick look at Chelsea’s accounts for the three years ending 30 June 2022 (clubs always take a few months before they publish their financial results, so we are always looking at historic information).

"Chelsea lost £241 million pre-tax in the three years ended 30 June 2022 per their accounts. However, things then start to get complicated, as the Premier League allows a series of adjustments.

"A Covid-led lockdown in the spring of 2020 and almost the whole of the 2020/21 season meant that clubs were hit hard financially. The Premier League therefore added together the financial results of both seasons and then halved them, treating both seasons as a single one for FFP purposes."

You can read Maguire's full analysis of Chelsea's situation here.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: AC Milan, Chelsea, Europa Conference League, Carabao Cup, UEFA, FFP