Kieran Maguire: 'Things could get tricky' as Chelsea accused of cheating FIFA finance rules
“Things could get tricky for Chelsea” financially if the stars they have signed on ultra-long contracts prove to be duds.
That is the view of finance guru Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the potential fallout of Chelsea’s Financial Fair-play busting recruitment strategy.
Chelsea, funded by new owner Todd Boehly, have a negative net spend of over £400million this season, with the likes of Mykhalyo Mudryk, Wesley Fofana, and Marc Cucurella all signed for enormous sums.
That trio penned contracts of eight-and-a-half, eight, and six years in length respectively, with the transfer fees amortised over those timeframes and thereby offset under the terms of FFP.
But the Daily Mail reported last Friday (20 January) that some of the Blues’ Premier League rivals believe Chelsea have effectively cheated FFP by breaking FIFA’s rules on contracts.
FIFA statutes do not permit contracts to run any longer than five years, but Chelsea are understood to have bypassed this by making the excess years part of a club-triggered option to extend.
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Maguire explained why Chelsea’s strategy could backfire in any case.
“If you spend £420m on players with contracts of four years, that works out at £105m per year under the principles of amortisation,” he told Football Insider’s Adam Williams.
“You divide the cost of the contract over the life of the contract. By giving players seven or eight-year contracts, that reduces your annual costs. That allows you to spend more on wages and keep within Financial Fair Play.
“That is the positive from Chelsea’s perspective, but the downside is that it is locking you into a wage commitment as well.
“Chelsea will remember players like Winston Bogarde who played eight or nine times in four years. He was on a salary that was far higher than he could have got elsewhere.
“If the players you sign on these long contracts are good, all is great. If not, the downside is you have a long-term financial commitment.
“Under the new Uefa spending rules, there is effectively a soft wage cap. Committing a large amount of cash, therefore, makes things tricky in future years.
“The players will be unlikely to leave and no one is going to want to pay substantial amounts of cash for players who are peripheral at Chelsea.“