Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich could take advantage of UEFA transfer loophole

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Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich could take advantage of UEFA relaxation of financial fair play rules during the January transfer window. European football’s governing body has eased up its FFP criteria as clubs struggle to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chelsea spent more than £200million last summer as manager Frank Lampard bids to turn his side into Premier League title contenders.

A similar splurge is unlikely this month, with Lampard having said last week he was “not jumping up and down to do business” in January. Outgoings are more likely to be the focus of this window, with players like Michy Batshuayi and Danny Drinkwater surplus to requirements, while Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri are being targeted by other clubs and Fikayo Tomori could be set for a loan move.

However, Lampard and director Marina Granovskaia could still be tempted to swoop for new recruits, with Chelsea having slipped down the table after losing four of their last six league games.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich invested heavily last summer (Image: PA)

And Abramovich may arguably never have a better chance to splash his cash, according to Football London.

On New Year’s Eve, Abramovich Chelsea announced profits of £32.5million for the year ending June 30 – also stating in their accounts that the club “continues to comply with UEFA break-even criteria under the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations”.

The Stamford Bridge outfit were banned from making signings during the 2019 summer transfer window.

And they outperformed their ‘Big Six’ rivals when it came to player sales – which included the transfers of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and Alvaro Morata to Atletico for a combined £160million including performance related add-ons.

Chelsea's vital statistics

Chelsea’s vital statistics (Image: EXPRESS)

According to UEFA’s FFP rules, in normal circumstances clubs must not make a loss of more than £27million across three seasons.

But it is not until next year that the books must be balanced sufficiently, with the FFP window extended to four seasons with an average being taken for 2020 and 2021.

The Swiss Ramble Twitter account has explained how Chelsea look likely to fall within UEFA’s guidelines.

Posts from the account read: “In the highly likely case that the break-even result for the 2020-2021 combined period is a loss, this will be halved for the FFP assessment.

“This will then be further adjusted for any revenue shortfall caused by the pandemic (compared to the 2019 revenue base).

“On that basis, #CFC will only have a small £5m (€6m) FFP break-even deficit for the 2022 monitoring period, as this will cover 2018 (£95m profit), 2019 (£73m loss) and the average of 2020 (£46m profit) and 2021 (£99m loss), i.e. £27m loss. In other words, they should be fine.”

The size of Chelsea’s current squad means it is inevitable that a number of players will depart over the next year.

Reducing the expenditure should not be a problem with several high-earners such as Batshuayi and Drinkwater coming off the wage bill, while various long-term loan players are also expected to leave.

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