Premier League points deduction: How it could affect Chelsea and Pochettino’s future
The international break has got off to an eventful start for Chelsea. In a week following two of the craziest and most unpredictable games of the season – possibly ever – the Blues have now been handed a massive worry.
It was reported on Wednesday by the Guardian that further questions over Roman Abramovich’s tenure had emerged following the uncovering of documents that suggest secret payments were made that may have breached financial fair play rules. It is not the only ongoing investigation around Abramovich.
Chelsea have already been punished in recent years for football-related activity and were given a transfer ban in 2019 for their methods of signing young players. Now they are being looked into over financial irregularities that the current owners self-reported earlier this year relating to transfers made between 2012 and 2019 under Abramovich.
Each of FIFA, UEFA and the Premier League could punish the Blues if found guilty of further transfer payments made to Russian entities seperate from the deals themselves. The latest scandal involving Abramovich is now that reportedly tens of millions of pounds were ‘routed through offshore vehicles’ belonging to the former owner.
It is said that people benefitting from the payments were Chelsea as a club as well as Eden Hazard’s agent, associates of Antonio Conte and other officials. This has not only raised the alert once more for a club that refuses to be out of the news no matter what stage of the season but it leaves them open to all sorts of punishments.
Only last month it was revealed that Everton could face a 12-point deduction if found guilty of breaching financial rules with the Premier League pushing for a harsh punishment, meanwhile Manchester City are under investigation with 115 charges against them. These could carry potential relegations, league expulsions, huge financial penalties or more. Transfer bans have been handed out in the past as well
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire believes that a statement decision could be made if clubs are found guilty though. “If there is proof that the club has used third party transactions to circumvent the profitability and sustainability rules then sanctions would be either financial or a points deduction,” he explained.
“The latter is more likely as any commission investigating a club’s circumstances will want to put out a deterrent that dissuades others from repeating such behaviour.”
At this stage, it is simply too soon to know how things may play out and part of Boehly-Clearlake’s thinking is to be entirely open about their own findings after carrying out due diligence checks on their arrival. However, the threat of a points deducation remains and here, football.london looks at the possible impact it could have on the club.
No Champions League
An obvious one given that the club are already in a fight to get into the top four – or five – this year without losing the points that they have. A quick point worth noting, though, is that any outcome from these investigations could still be years away so seeing a punishment this season is already less than unlikely.
However, first imagine what could happen this year. The Blues are nine points off Aston Villa in fifth, a position that is expected to bring an extra Champions League place for the new competition set-up next season, and would fall miles off if they were deducted points.
The gap to Tottenham in fourth is 10 points and although the team is starting to gel it looks like a tough ask at this stage. Things can change and teams will drop points in the race to get in and around the European spots but it would take a level of consistency not shown by any Chelsea side since the winter of 2021.
Add a points deduction to their starting tally in future seasons and it would also immediately put them on the back foot. There are financial issues that come with failure to finish in Europe as well…
Not to fearmonger, but these are possibilities. Chelsea have cut their costs effectively in the past 12 months despite spending over £1billion. The £250million return on sales is a good start and the player trading route taken by the owners is likely to see those exiting continue to make up a bulk of money coming in.
What does have to be said though is even with reduced wages, incentivised contracts and amortized deals over nearly a decade, Chelsea cannot run like they are without European rewards for too long. Many are forecasting for serious issues if they fail to qualify for at least the Europa League via this season and even that is still some distance from the luxury of Champions League football.
This could leave the club in a bad state and forced to sell off players they don’t want to in order to remain at the top level. A lot has to go wrong in order for this to happen and it is a doomsday scenario, but this is the landscape that could be ahead for the Blues.
The club are looking into selling off players across the first team and academy to bring in cash and balance the books, if the finances got worse as a result of points deductions and punishments then it could escalate.
Just like above, Chelsea could find it harder to sign players. It all compounds into the final point made below but with points deductions, financial issues and general uncertainty it becomes harder to sell a vision. They managed it last summer despite finishing 12th which is something to be positive about but how much longer that can continue is up for debate.
Chelsea’s spending has already been too lavish to continue for much longer but add that into a situation like this one being imagined and it is even harder to foresee the players’ desire being as easily attainable.
The thing is when it comes to investigations and talk about football finances and punishments is that nobody knows. There is always a chance that everything goes wrong and the club falls off entirely. Many feared for the state things would be in after the takeover nearly 18 months ago.
Although the start to life under Boehly-Clearlake has been largely terrible on the pitch there have been wholesale changes across the club that explains why. People can predict ups and downs, what will happen with managerial changes and plenty of new transfers, but the impact of points deductions, financial penalties or bans is such a murky and unknown area it is hard to describe.
Chelsea were at one stage unable to open the megastore or receive money in 2022, they were reportedly months away from serious issues and couldn’t sell extra tickets. This isn’t going to happen this time round and the impact is likely to be football-related. Fines the club can handle but punishments to the team and owners that have little to do with the actual events is harsh.
The whole thing is unprecedented but what we do know is that there are slippery slopes. Two years without Champions League or European football can easily become three and then there is more attention on decision makers, transfers and club organisation. It might get worse before it gets better.