The English are in first place, Juve is the first Italian and fifth: but one wonders how such investments are possible even in the light of financial fair play. Waiting to understand the developments from the Arab Emirates market…

While in Italy there is a battle on the negotiating table for zero-parameters, English football has witnessed an exponential growth in club spending in recent years. A practical demonstration of this is Chelsea, which under president Todd Bohely has confirmed itself as the world’s biggest spender.
As reported by (, the recent purchase of Christopher Nkunku for €60 million has pushed the blues’ total spending to over the €2bn mark over the past decade: at least 30 of the players bought during this period are estimated to have cost €30m each, with as many as 14 costing over €50m. These figures are mind-boggling and far removed from the Italian reality, where Juventus, fifth in this special ranking, stands out, having spent over €1.5 billion between 2013 and today. But this is not the only ‘record’ held by ‘The Blues’, who are also the team that has spent the most in a single season, reaching the figure of 611.5 million euros last season.

Financial Fair Play (FFP): difference between UK and other countries in Europe. The Financial Fair Play requires clubs to balance their budgets in the current accounting year, so one wonders why such a hot topic in Italy and other countries seems to have no limitations across the Channel. A first explanation is to be found in contract durations. As stated in FIFA Regulations in Article 18, in fact: ‘The minimum duration of a contract is from the date of entry into force until the end of the season, while the maximum duration of a contract is five years. Contracts of any other duration are permitted only if they comply with national laws’. And it is no coincidence that the UK differs from these, allowing Chelsea (and other English teams) to make contracts of unimaginable lengths to avoid incurring UEFA’s sanctions for non-compliance with FFP.

Case in point? Think of Mudryk, who arrived in the shadow of Stamford Bridge in January 2023 for £88m, on an eight-and-a-half-year contract… This practice is perfectly in line with the club’s policies adopted for financial reasons and allows Chelsea to amortise the investment in the player over the years of his contract, thus reducing the annual financial impact and circumventing FFP. However, the risks are not few. In the event of a player’s disappointing performance, for example, getting rid of him could be a problem. And, as doubts persist as to the long-term sustainability of this strategy, UEFA has already intervened: from now on, the amortisation of a player’s contractual term will be limited to five years. But this is not a retroactive rule and so will have no direct influence on what Chelsea has done in recent years.