Thursday, September 7, 2023

Chelsea could face points deduction amid Premier League investigation into financial breaches

Chelsea are currently under investigation by the Premier League for financial breaches that occurred during Roman Abramovich’s ownership of the club. The new owners, Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, reported irregularities to UEFA and the Premier League after their takeover in 2022. These charges are related to Abramovich’s time in charge of Chelsea.

In July, UEFA fined Chelsea £8.6 million for incomplete financial information. While the Premier League has not yet charged the club, an investigation has now been opened, according to The Times. If found guilty of breaching financial rules, Chelsea could face a fine or even a points deduction in the league.

The charges being investigated by the Premier League are specifically related to Abramovich’s tenure at Stamford Bridge, where he took over in 2003 and sold the club in 2022. The investigation will focus on payments made to secretive offshore companies, with figures running into the millions. These payments were not registered on the club’s annual financial report to the Football Association, Premier League, and UEFA. Additionally, there is scrutiny over at least one payment made to a player’s family.

It is important to note that even though the charges relate to the previous ownership, Chelsea is still liable for any rule breaches. The investigation could involve questioning Chelsea’s former chairman Bruce Buck and director Marina Granovskaia, both of whom have since left the club. As a result, the club may face punishments ranging from fines to point deductions.

Roman Abramovich oversaw Chelsea’s most successful period, with the club winning five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, two Champions League titles, two Europa League titles, and the Club World Cup during his ownership. However, Abramovich had also faced sanctions from the UK government due to his links to Vladimir Putin, particularly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, which was widely condemned by many countries worldwide.
Chelsea FC could face its first ever points deduction in the Premier League as the league investigates allegations of financial breaches by the club.

The league is currently conducting an inquiry following reports that the club failed to adhere to Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations in the 2013–14 season. The regulations, which are designed to ensure that clubs do not overspend in order to gain an unfair advantage, apply to all clubs in the top flight of English football.

Under the regulations, any club found to be in breach of the rules can face a financial penalty, or worse, a points deduction. The league said it was “unable to comment on the specifics of the case” while its investigation was ongoing.

Chelsea won the Premier League for the second time that season and are currently third in the table. A points deduction of any size would be hugely damaging to their chances of qualifying for the Champions League, or even defending their title.

The speculation has already had an impact on the club’s share price, which has dropped significantly since the allegations were first made public.

The Chelsea chairman, Bruce Buck, was summoned to attend a disciplinary hearing in 2021 and the club was fined £20,000 by the FA for their refusal to meet the deadline for responding to the inquiry’s request for evidence.

This is not the first time Chelsea have come under scrutiny for breaking the rules. They were fined a combined £100,000 in both 2012 and 2019 for failing to adhere to the FA’s “Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play” regulations.

It remains to be seen whether Chelsea will receive a points deduction and for how long, but if they are found guilty of financial mismanagement it could have a seismic effect on the Premier League standings.

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