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Will Chelsea now be treated the same as everyone else with bad accounting?

By Tony Attwood

There is a remarkable piece in the Telegraph today headed Why Chelsea should be relegated from the Premier League by Jim White who is a regular writer for the paper and what is called “an ardent Manchester United supporter.”

OK so he is biased.  As am I.  As is everyone.  But he does ask some interesting questions, such as “why did it take so long for the government to acknowledge officially the Chelsea owner’s links with the murderous tyrant in the Kremlin?”

And a little later, “have the football authorities at last appreciated that allowing the sale of a significant cultural asset to a businessman irredeemably bonded to a despot might not be the brightest of ideas? (Are you watching Newcastle)?”

Plus a little later again he asks about repercussions, adding, “Not just in terms of restrictions on ticket, merchandise and player sales. But on the pitch. After all, fans of Derby County, Reading, Bolton, Portsmouth and the rest have all seen the consequences of dodgy finance played out in point deductions and subsequent relegation scraps. In Scotland, Rangers were obliged to start again at the bottom of the league pyramid as soon as the full range of their monetary mismanagement became apparent. And, for all their interesting political allegiances, as far as we are aware no one at Ibrox was supporting a maternity-hospital-bombing despot.”

And that’s an interesting point that I hadn’t considered.  Yes, when there are financial things amiss all sorts of punishments are handed out.

Of course not everyone agrees.  One correspondent replied, “What a ridiculous article. Punish a football club because the UK Govt were asleep at the wheel for 20 years? Try and think a bit more rationally, Jim, and not as a tribalistic football fan. I’d have hoped my subscription to a broadsheet would buy access to better quality opinions than this.”

Which I rather like – not the name calling, I always find that boring, but the notion of “better quality opinons”.  I am still trying to think that one through. 

But let’s move on to another thought.  I recently did one of my occasional bits about how Arsenal are doing this year compared to other years after this number of games.  See for example, Finishing 4th: How does this season compare with past seasons after 25 games?

So what about Chelsea – how have they been doing this season compared to recent ones?

Pos Year P W D L F A GD Pts End
3 2022 26 15 8 3 53 18 35 53
5 2021 26 12 8 6 41 25 16 44 4
4 2020 26 12 5 9 43 36 7 41 4
6 2019 26 15 5 6 45 29 16 50 3
5 2018 26 15 5 6 46 23 23 50 5
1 2017 26 20 3 3 55 19 36 63 1

Certainly, this season after 26 games Chelsea are way ahead of last year, and even further ahead than the year before.  In fact, the last time they were in front of where they are this season was in 2017, when they won the league – as can be seen from the column on the right.

Meanwhile, according to German television, the Boeing of Roman Abramovich is currently stuck at Basel-Mulhouse airport, and I suppose that is because Swiss airspace is now closed to Russian aircraft.  Indeed it seems a number of planes owned by the oligarchs are stuck there.  It seems the Abramovich plane went from London to Basel at the end of February.  

As SRF’s research shows, other Russian nationals or companies find themselves in the same situation as Roman Abramovich. A plane belonging to the Lukoil group and a private jet belonging to billionaire Viktor Vekselberg are also grounded. Viktor Vekselberg is also known to have a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But let’s return to the Telegraph article in which this point, which I do think is important to consider, is made.   The point is made, why should clubs have points deducted for the sins of their owners?

The answer is, because this is what normally happens.  As the Telegraph says, “Bolton fans were not remotely responsible for the reckless behaviour of the club’s previous owner, but they were the ones obliged to watch their team sink down the divisions as a result of what he did. At Derby, the supporters did not spend way beyond their means: that was the previous owner. Yet, because of the concomitant points deduction, they are required to watch their team scrabble to avoid relegation to the third tier, their support tested to its limit. “

The fact is, I don’t like points deductions for the bad behaviour of owners, but that is what is normally done.  So the key issue is, why is Chelsea not being treated like everyone else?

Government takes action of Abramovich and Chelsea FC.

21 comments to Will Chelsea now be treated the same as everyone else with bad accounting?

  • Ukesox

    I’m struggling to understand how financial fair play relates to a club that propped up by “loans” & is in debt to the tune of £1.5 billion that the loaner is prepared to write off?

  • Chris

    @Ukesox,

    I’ve had the same question. If they sell the club lessthe debts, this ammounts to one big write-off that suddendly is off the books. I even wonder if this would not be anti-competitive and how that would look in terms of revenue.

    Then again, with 1.5 billion or so, you negotiate differently then you and me with a few thousand.

    Somone will argue that losing Chelsea would be a loss for the PL, will create a few jobless, the footballers would not have a club, etc etc etc etc and they’ll wiggle their way out of it. Wanna bet ?!

  • Zedsaunt

    The EPL has collaborated with a weapons manufacturer for Putin. The EPL might dress it up with talk of ‘delusion,’ ‘money intoxication,’ ‘trophies,’ ‘fans,’ but the facts on the ground do not lie. Abramovich built tanks and those tanks murdered Chechnya’s, Syrians, Ukrainians.

    Abramovich can hold as many trophies as he bought but he still stands in the shadows as a man who made a profit out of the rubble of Grozny, Aleppo, Ukraine.

    The full account has still to be made public. It might never see daylight. Some of us saw corruption the moment Abramovich appeared in London in 2003 – you cannot make that amount of money in Russia without being a thief, and you cannot take it out of Russia without the support of the Kremlin. That’s reality.

    Football is delusion. It drifts away into the sky. No ropes hold it down to the ground. What Tony asks today cannot be answered.

  • Jimbo

    I wonder how all the dick heads ‘Wenger out brigade’ feel now after Wenger warned us of Usmanov, though the likes of AFTV and many bloggs wanted Usmanov in.

  • Zedsaunt

    Did you hear of a single pundit who quit the TV football studio because Abramovich, as Chelsea owner, was buying a trophy using money stolen from the Russian people and authorised by Putin?

    Did you hear the football pundit warn the audience everyone in football was being made complicit in whatever Putin did?

  • bushido

    that’s right Jimbo. when he’s at Arsenal, i always voiced my disapproval and remind of the consequences here at Untold of his associate with our club and having him as our shareholder. thank god Arsenal manage to cut all ties with that guy

  • Chris

    Well, football journalists are no real experts at anything except BS, this we already knew.
    The piece in the Guardian shows that even anatomy is something they have trouble with :

    “this endlessly giving hand, had been chopped off at the knees by the British government”

    Which shows they would not even be employed by PGMOL which says a lot.

    Made my day….

  • Les Martin

    I see Piers wants to see Arsenal getting in Tuchel. Is there some way this bloke could be made to shut his north ?

  • Les Martin

    Pundits didn’t say a word when Manchester City were up to no good ,not a peep when Newcastle got quite well off owners.
    However they were upset and told everyone so when Arteta acted as a ball boy last weekend so it’s heartening to see they’ve got their priorities. Rather like a passenger on the Titanic wanting a cabin upgrade just after hitting that iceberg and complaining a steward hadn’t fetched his gin and tonic so should be sacked on the spot.

  • Chris

    A piece in the Guardian makes one damning point. Abramovich’s assets have been frozen. Because of all they have announced.
    So, who knew all along and accepted those facts anyway ?
    She has a point.

    Which is more more proof that the PL is not capable of managing itself, the politicians not capable of managing anything else then their wallets, bank accounts and re-election campaigns, and the press incapable of thinking AND writing their thoughts – all they are capable of doing is writing shite, fantasies and personal grievances/preferences for all to read as if it were the book of truth and the readers idiots incapable of structured thought.

    Yeah…who knew all along ?

  • Emilio

    Zedsaunt-How is your Glass House?

  • Emilio

    The gloating….Reminds me of a group of people cheering as one individual murders another. They are all complicit, because they could and should have prevented the killing. It’s just an analogy.

    This gloating of Chelsea’s demise might be premature. The current financial sanctions imposed on the club and supporters are unfair imo. Hang the oligarch for all I care. However, the solution is quite simple. All money that Chelsea currently make after expenses are paid, should go into a separate account and kept there for the future owner to use for the club. Unless, you want to shut the club completely.

    Nobody, and I mean nobody despises that club, with it’s core of Racist thugs more than me. It was ok for these criminals to infiltrate themselves into our football and they were welcomed by government, politicians and the tv networks. Just a few weeks ago, they were glorifying their World Club Championship triumph not only on Sky Sports and MOTD, but on the Fucking main news! Sanctimonious, Bastard Hypocrites!! The same applies to City and Newcastle and all the other ‘dodgy’ owners, that is the cancer of our beautiful game. As I have said before, where is the outrage?

    Finally, I have a more suitable punishment for Abramovitch’s Chelsea: You strip Chelsea of every trophy they won under his stewardship. To quote the song “You bought it All!”

  • Chris

    @Emilio,

    I think you have a point here.

    When the wise man points to the moon, the idiot sees the finger.

    While Chelsea is making headlines, how many oligarchs are able to siphon off their fortune un-noticed ?

    Considering how honnest to God, straightforward and transparent the UK government is, maybe my suspicion is out of line.

    As far as sanctionning Chelsea, I don’t actually care. They’ve cheated FFP rules at a time when Arsenal were playing it by the book. If Chelsea belongs to Abramovich and his assets are frozen, then it is the logical consequence. Do I care ? No. Does not seem unjust to me.

    However what IS unjust is that some other owners are not getting any pressure when they are themselves far from examples of good governance and peaceful rulers/dictators.

    But then again , it is as it used to be long long ago : panem et circences

    as well as : greed and hubris

  • Zedsaunt

    Hi Emilio

    How is my Glass House?

    Well-structured, firm foundations, a deep basement.

    Europe is a ballroom mate. Some dances go on for centuries. It doesn’t matter how many die, the band starts, the same old tune, people shuffle out, take a few steps.

    Eight pogroms in Russia 1800 to 1912, Final Solution 1942-1945.

    1945 Sixty Million dead.

    We were told we defeated Fascism.

    Back in the 1960s there was a Daily Mirror editor called Hugh Cudlipp admired and respected because he used his pen to protect the powerless against the powerful.

    There’s no stone I’m throwing out that I didn’t throw out when Abramovitch walked in. Did the Chelsea fans care? No. They wanted trophies.

    You’re looking at football as a cast-iron, bricked-in, bubble that keeps reality at the door. You tell me why the passion for a trophy transcends where the money came from, how much it cost?

  • Zedsaunt

    Hi Emilio

    You write

    ”They are all complicit, because they could and should have prevented the killing. It’s just an analogy.”

    If you can’t stop the killing because you don’t have the forces, the power, it’s not within the realms of your possibility, you have to bear witness and if you can’t bear the witness, if you can’t see yourself in your time because all you see is the trophy, you relinquish all action, even the knowledge of your own eyes.

  • Dave Harrison

    As for the other killers, the tyrants who buy up clubs and pass due diligence, there’s a thousand conversations to be had, endless debates, because the horror of this particular war in the Ukraine has suddenly brought home to people they too could be a refugee, and you find yourself with an open door. It never happened to them before. They lived behind their skin. Now that has been torn aside.

  • The BBC (Alastair Magowan) seems to be lamenting the fact that after the sanctions, Chelsea will have a huge shortfall, due to a monthly wage bill of £28m per month.

    Well, we all know whose fault that was.

  • Gary Lineker actually tweeted something meaningful related to football yesterday. He seems to have finally woken up to the existence of sportswashing, and not only in relation to Chelsea.

  • Zedsaunt

    The old European ballroom burning and the Football League announces minutes ago Roman Abramovitch is disqualified as a director. It was known when he walked through the door he was Putin’s man. Some wanted a cut from wealth stolen from working people, others wanted trophies.

    Still to be answered – how did the English Premier League allow itself to be used?

  • bushido

    what make matters really worse is that Abramovich has the audacity about his peacemaker claim while in the same time panicky selling all his London assets and hurriedly sailing off his Superyachts to open water namely Caribbean island to avoid seizure. that man is really nefarious

  • Zedsaunt

    People up and down and across the breadth and width of England are being convicted in courts and getting their pics in papers for stealing items from shops and supermarkets, Abramovich comes along and steals twenty years of football history and gets a couple of weeks to get his money out. Nefarious and aided.

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