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Did Chelsea sell their training ground to themselves?

Did Chelsea sell their training ground to themselves?...Continue The Full Reading.

Chelsea have attempted to sell their own Cobham training ground to themselves in a bid to circumnavigate the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules (PSR), a former football finance advisor has claimed.

The Blues’ financial challenges have been laid bare in recent weeks after it was recently revealed they posted the most severe operating losses of any Premier League club in history last season.

Their operating loss was a staggering £249million, almost £100m more than their nearest rival, Leicester, who recorded a £152m deficit.

With Chelsea also boasting the most expensive squad, valued at £1.1billion, it has seen the club sell a hotel to BlueCo – the consortium led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake who bought the club in May 2022 – for £76.3m in a bid to stay within the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules.

And now it appears the west London club have made another attempt to comply with the Premier League’s financial rules by selling their training ground to themselves, according to Manchester City’s former financial advisor Stefan Borson.

Did Chelsea sell their training ground to themselves?
Did Chelsea sell their training ground to themselves?

Borson took to X to post an application enquiry made by the club in early February, days after the transfer window shut, before asking the question whether Chelsea had in fact tried to sell – or have actually sold – their Cobham training ground to themselves.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein reported on Peacock on Sunday that Chelsea are ‘confident’ that they do not need to make any further sales before the June 30 deadline to keep in line with PSR rules for the 2023-24 campaign.

Ornstein also reported that the Blues will need to make sales to keep in line with PSR for the 2024-25 season but that cut off will be next summer.

This led to Borson questioning whether the training ground potentially being sold in-house was linked.

Along with a screenshot of the application enquiry, Borson said: ‘Is this why Chelsea have told [David] Ornstein they no longer need to sell before 30 June 2024?

‘Chelsea have now attempted to sell (or have actually sold) their Cobham Training Ground to themselves (ie intra-group).

‘Their lawyers applied to register this dealing in early February (after the window creaked shut). So Chelsea’s 23/24 PSR confidence appears to be based on this intra-group accounting profit to outweigh the expected £200m+ operating loss.’

Did Chelsea sell their training ground to themselves?

Borson then went on to question whether the deal had been approved by the Premier League and whether there ‘really over £100m-150m FMV profit to be had’ from selling Cobham.

He also questioned whether the property validly held given that Chelsea Training Ground Limited was dissolved in 2015, giving rise to a potential bona vacantia issue.

Chelsea have been approached for comment.

The claims come a month after Chelsea generated more than £76million after selling both hotels on the Stamford Bridge site to another company they own.

Insiders at the London club insist that deal was done within the Premier League’s rules and ran by the competition beforehand, adding that they used two independent valuers to ensure a fair price was agreed.

The overall numbers disclosed did little to show that Chelsea will not face a battle to comply with the Premier League’s financial rules this summer, with rival clubs believing that they have to sell this summer in order to avoid a breach.

June 30 is the deadline by which clubs needing to generate cash will have to beat.

Chelsea maintain they are confident they will be compliant, though the club’s accounts, published on Companies House for the year ending June 30 2023, showed a pre-tax loss of £90.1m.

They spent £747m on transfers while their wage bill also soared to £404m – a sum believed to be second only to Manchester City among England’s elite clubs, though their salary outlay involved bonuses paid for winning the treble of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

Did Chelsea sell their training ground to themselves?

High salaries could pose a problem if Chelsea do look to sell their stars as it will limit the number of clubs who could take their handsomely-paid players off their hands.

Chelsea are likely to have to prove to the Premier League that they are PSR compliant, but at least one expert last month said their accounts were worse than they expected.

These accounts followed the news that Chelsea spent more than £75m on agents’ fees over the last season – the most of any Premier League side and more than all of the clubs in the Championship, League One, League Two and National League added together.…Continue The Full Reading.>’.

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