Chelsea to ‘seek exemptions’ from Prem spending rules after £323m January spree

Chelsea are seeking exemptions from the Premier League's spending rules by using the government sanctions placed on former owner Roman Abramovich as their primary argument.

The Blues were hit with economically-damaging penalties for three months last year due to Abramovich's close ties with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, following the latter's decision to invade Ukraine. By doing so, the British government placed a freeze on Chelsea's assets, banning the club from making any transfers while also prohibiting them from selling new tickets and any merchandise.

The period hit Chelsea financially before the sanctions were lifted following the successful takeover by a consortium led by Todd Boehly in the summer. Since then, Boehly and the ownership group have invested heavily in Chelsea's playing squad, forking out more than £500million across two transfer windows – though that has now put the club at risk of breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

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Premier League rules state clubs are allowed to lose up to £105m over the course of a three-year period. Chelsea recorded losses of £153.4m for 2020-21, though the Premier League did give clubs some reprieve due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

However, with Chelsea teetering closely to a potential breach, The Mail report Boehly and the Blues board are planning to ask for special dispensation due to their torrid three months under government sanctions.

Abramovich sold Chelsea to Boehly and co. for an initial £2.5billion in May, in a negotiation handled by the British Government and on the proviso the funds would not make their way back to the Oligarch, but to a relief fund he had set up to support those affected by the war in Ukraine.

In addition to their initial outlay, Boehly's consortium also committed to spending another £1.75bn to improve specific elements of the club, including their Stamford Bridge stadium and infrastructure. But their hopeful request at receiving some kind of exemption will unlikely sit well with other Premier League chiefs after their eye-watering transfer spend.

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The Blues spent a British record fee (£107m) to sign Enzo Fernandez from Benfica on deadline day, following the arrivals of Mykhaylo Mudryk (£87m), Benoit Badiashile (£35m), Noni Madueke (£29m) and Malo Gusto (£26.3m), among others.

This followed on from a summer where Chelsea signed Wesley Fofana (£70m), Marc Cucurella (£62m), Raheem Sterling (£50m) and Kalidou Koulibaly (£33m). In total Chelsea have signed 16 players this season, while some new additions – including Badiashile and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – have not even made the cut for their 25-man Champions League squad.

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