One of the most prominent football finance experts in the UK has claimed that Chelsea ‘don’t have enough cash in the business’, and could be facing administration or worse in the wake of Roman Abramovich’s sanctioning.
The Russian has been nobbled by the UK government, and the freezing of his assets means that he can longer put money into the club – nor, for the time being at least, agree its sale to the myriad of suitors jostling for position.
And with bans on generating revenue through ticket sales and club merchandise, Rob Wilson – a football finance analyst at Sheffield Hallam University – believes it won’t be long before Chelsea literally run out of money.
“The biggest issue now is the ongoing running of the club,” Wilson confirmed.
“I don’t believe that they have enough cash in the business, without owner support, to meet their ongoing obligations, such as paying players.
“I suspect administration will be on the table soon.”
Another expert on Financial Fair Play, Ed Thompson, explained why Chelsea might not be a particularly attractive investment for potential buyers while the sanctions remain in place on Abramovich.
The #ChelseaFC Holding Co owes RA c£1.5bn. That’s now frozen and I don’t believe he can’t write it off at this time even if he wants to. So no-one will buy the club with that hanging over it. Club loss-mqking, so FWIW, I expect club to go into Administration.
— Ed Thompson (@edthompsn) March 10, 2022
The Russian has said he would waiver the £1.5 billion he is owed, which would help to facilitate the sale of the club, and many believe a takeover will be allowed if a) Abramovich concedes control over the sale to the government, and b) the proceeds raised are donated to a charitable effort like the Red Cross or UNICEF.
At that point, the threat of administration would likely recede….but these are worrying times for Chelsea supporters nonetheless.
Three is Not the Magic Number
As of Chelsea weren’t destabilised enough by the government sanctions, now their commercial partners are thought to be considering whether or not they should pull the plug on their existing deals.
The mobile network operator Three has already bolted, and they have announced that they are ‘temporarily suspending’ their agreement with the Stamford Bridge outfit – thought to be worth £40 million per season to the Londoners.
A statement from the firm revealed:
“In light of the government’s recently announced sanctions, we have requested Chelsea Football Club temporarily suspend our sponsorship of the club, including the removal of our brand from shirts and around the stadium until further notice.
“We recognise that this decision will impact the many Chelsea fans who follow their team passionately. However, we feel that given the circumstances, and the government sanction that is in place, it is the right thing to do.”
Elsewhere, shirt sleeve sponsor Hyundai have confirmed they are ‘assessing the situation’, while the Daily Mail has reported that Nike – who have a 15-year deal in place worth a staggering £900 million, Parimatch and Zapp are also contemplating ending their deals.