Premier League fail to close FFP loophole after controversial Chelsea deal

  • Premier League held vote to ban clubs from using one-off profits to aid PSR reports
  • Chelsea attracted controversy after £76.5m sale of its own hotels to a sister company
  • Vote failed to receive enough support
Chelsea's owners exploited another financial loophole
Chelsea's owners exploited another financial loophole / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

The Premier League have failed with an attempt to ban clubs from using profits from sales of club assets in their Financial Fair Play submissions.

Chelsea attracted major controversy after selling two hotels to a sister company of the BlueCo 22 ownership group for £76.5m - a deal which allowed them to fall back under the threshold for 2022/23's financial reports.

As noted by The Athletic, only 11 out of the required 14 clubs supported the Premier League's attempts to close the loophole, meaning clubs remain free to use such sales to boost their efforts to avoid falling foul of Profit and Sustainability Rules.

This is the second time the Premier League have raised the idea of closing this loophole. The English Football League banned the use of such profits after a rise in cases in 2021, but officials from the top flight did not receive enough interest from clubs to actually put it to a vote at the time.

A formal vote was held on Thursday but was once again shot down amid concerns over the specific nature of the proposed ban.

Stamford Bridge
Chelsea sold club hotels to a sister company of their owners / Crystal Pix/MB Media/GettyImages

It is believed that the wording used by the Premier League led to a divide among clubs, with some fearing it did not distinguish between "the type of non-football revenues that clubs believe they should be encouraged to exploit, such as building hotels, houses or indoor arenas, and the accountancy tricks of selling existing property to yourself".

A renewed push from the league to close this loophole is expected soon but, as it stands, Premier League teams remain free to use the sales of assets like stadiums, training ground and hotels to boost their profits.

Thursday's vote also included an informal agreement to trial a new "anchoring" system which is designed to prevent the richest clubs from aggressively outspending those around them.

Spending money will be tied to the amount of media and sponsorship income raised by the team who finishes bottom of the division, although the system is not expected to be formally introduced until the results of next season's trial are analysed.