February 28, 2024

Christopher Nkunku: What Chelsea fans can expect

Premier League powerhouse duo Manchester City and Chelsea could face a shock relegation from the English top-flight on the back of Everton’s 10-point deduction, which has set a ‘powerful precedent’, according to a former financial advisor to Man City.

Sean Dyche’s side, who have seen an upturn in results and performances recently, are now sat in 19th spot on just four points but are still ahead of rock-bottom Burnley, who have struggled to adapt to Premier League life.

Much has been made of Chelsea and City’s respective situations, which have somewhat flown under the radar, while Everton, who suggest they are ‘shocked and disappointed’, have seen their 2023/24 Premier League points tally plunge.

Premier League relegation zone – as things stand 17/11

Position

Club

Pld

W

D

L

+/-

GD

Pts

18.

Sheffield United

12

1

2

9

10/31

-21

5

19.

Everton

12

4

2

6

14/17

-3

4

20.

Burnley

12

1

1

10

9/30

-21

4

In an official statement, the club said they were “shocked and disappointed by the ruling” and insisted they had “already communicated their intention to appeal the decision to the Premier League”. Previously, the Toffees had actually admitted to breaching the set-in-stone profit and sustainability rules at the end of 2021/22 and so also questioned the allegations that they had “failed to act with the utmost good faith”.

Everton manager Sean Dyche

Chelsea and Man City’s cases explained

Many fans and pundits alike have begun to ponder why the situations of Chelsea and City have not received the same punishment – as things stand, of course. Pep Guardiola’s men were charged by the Premier League back in February 2023 and currently face a whopping 115 charges for breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, regarding sponsors and contracts spanning over a nine-year timeframe.

Manchester City's Kyle Walker in action with Chelsea's Raheem Sterling

Potential relegation for Chelsea and Man City

When the news broke about Everton’s potentially detrimental punishment, clamour over City and Chelsea’s situations arose and Stefano Borson, a lawyer who has previously advised Guardiola’s side, posted on X (formerly Twitter) what could lie ahead for them both.

“Without seeing the judgement/award -10 points for Everton feels harsh for a straightforward FFP breach to me. But reinforces that sanctions against City (if proven) and now Chelsea (if charged and admitted on the off-books payments) will be potentially relegation inducing.”

In a shock turn of events, Borson – who is a fan of the Etihad Stadium outfit himself – has suggested that relegation could become a potential sanction should they be found guilty of any wrongdoing, while Chelsea’s plan to breach the rules and merely ‘take a fine as a cost of doing business’ must be coherently thought through.

“One thing is for sure, given the scale of this sporting sanction, Chelsea’s calculus [in my opinion] that they could breach PL P&S [Profit and Sustainability] and just take a fine as a cost of doing business, must be in urgent and immediate reconsideration.

“The January window may be interesting. Even in the best case, they can no longer rely on being able to convince an Independent Commission to accept their Covid and Sanctions allowances as exceptional adjustments [to the extent that was the plan].”

If found guilty of breaching the rules and regulations, both clubs could find themselves in deep water, with The Times’ Martyn Ziegler claiming it could be ‘potentially very bad news’. While Everton’s case was done and dusted within a matter of months, Ziegler has insisted that City could still be allowed to continue enriching their trophy cabinet for at least two years given the magnitude of their investigation.

That said, the respected journalist suggested that charges for the west London-based outfit, Chelsea, look ‘inevitable’ on the back of the new owners self-reporting the lofty, rule-breaking payments. They, alongside Guardiola’s City, face a “very real” threat of being demoted to the Championship should their guilt be proved in an independent regulatory commission.

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