Richard Masters vows to judge Chelsea’s spending over time after January spree


Premier League CEO Richard Masters insists Chelsea will be judged for their world record £500million on transfers in a single season.

The Blues signed 17 players over an intense first two transfer windows under the new Boehly-Clearlake ownership.

The spending hasn’t yet improved results in the short-term with the club 10th in the Premier League and Chelsea manager Graham Potter increasingly under pressure over his future.

Speaking at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, the Premier League executive defended the division’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations and believes Chelsea will be judged fairly over 12 months.

Masters said: “I am not here to defend, the new owners have owned the club for less than a year and had two transfer windows. We need to judge the club over three or four years.

“They might have bought, they would argue probably, having a different transfer policy to the previous regime. They’ve got younger players on longer contracts and with lower wages.

“Within our rules, it is a test over a 12 month period. The question is whether they are going to sell some players in the next window.

“I can’t answer that question [if they have overspent], I am not here to defend them but you have to judge these things over a period of time.”

LaLiga president Javier Tebas has criticised the financial balance of European football including Chelsea’s spending that dwarfed the other four big five leagues combined.

Reserving judgement: Chelsea’s new ownership will judged over the next year or so (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Reserving judgement: Chelsea’s new ownership will judged over the next year or so (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

He also says Premier League clubs spend beyond their means to inflate the transfer market, ultimately through being able to lose huge sums of money through their ownership model.

Asked about whether financial controls in the transfer market need to be tightened in England, Masters is open to emulating stricter UEFA rules coming in from next season.

He added: “It’s difficult to get a fix on the finances in football at the moment because we have just come out of a pandemic.

“If you look at the pre-pandemic, clubs made profits. Not substantial pre-tax profits but profits. The Premier League lost £2billion out of its ecosystem during the pandemic so that’s irretrievable and going to have an impact.

“I think the new UEFA rules are cost controls. They will be phased in over three years. If the Premier League follows with something similar, that is a possible outcome. You will have to wait until 2028 to see if these regulations are effective.”