Chelsea co-owner opens up on plans for multi-club model
By Tom Gott
Chelsea co-owner Behdad Eghbali has given his thoughts on building a multi-club network to go alongside the Blues.
Eghbali and fellow co-owner Todd Boehly have made no secret of their plans to transition to a data-driven, multi-club system and have acquired staff from both Brighton and Red Bull to make their dream a reality, with the latest hiring being former RB Leipzig technical director Christopher Vivell.
Speaking at SporticoLive’s Invest in Sports summit, Eghbali was asked about the benefits of a multi-club model and what it would bring to Chelsea.
"I think three different reasons for it," Eghbali began.
"One, if done well you can make money on each specific enterprise.
"Two, if done right, if you use data, if you're thoughtful about this global market for talent and access of talent that is not effectively done through a draft or an extensive college or baseball farm system which I would attribute as a multi-club model. You can capture, acquire, retain, sign talent and monetise talent. There's a talent arbitrage opportunity that exists.
"Three, it's the perfect pathway of developing talent whereby you don't have to spend crazy money on payroll. There are teams in the Premier League that spend 10% of what the top five or six teams spend on payroll. We hired a coach from Brighton and we think they're one of the best-run teams in the Premier League. The owner is from a sport gaming, data background. Spends 10% of the payroll, wins almost as much and is a very stable mid-market, mid-table, very profitable club.
"I think if you apply some of that IP into developing talent but keeping your talent. Not subject to arbitration, certainly subject to free agency but the model of six, seven, and eight-year contracts earlier based on players you've retained who have market value we think can be a sustainable model."
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Egbahli went on to reveal some of the Chelsea board's thoughts when it comes to expanding their network, naming a handful of countries in which the group have considered investing.
"For us, Portugal is an interesting market," he said. "A gateway to South America, a gateway to European visas, the French market is interesting given the quality of the league, given frankly quality, French speakers in Africa. Africa we think is a big, big market.
"The [LA] Dodgers, they have a farm team in Uganda. Looking at Africa as a market with an untapped amount of talent, close to Europe time zone-wise. Again, I think we're all teetering at the surface of where we're going to go.
"Clearly, our approach was, it so happened because of a global conflict Chelsea was available and we thought we'd start with that. When we've seen it not work is when people are buying clubs largely because it's there and for sale."