Chelsea rivals ‘demand inquiry’ as Saudi spree offers ‘get out of FFP jail free card’ for Todd Boehly

Will Ford
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly eats a biscuit
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly eats a biscuit ahead of a match at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea’s rivals at home and abroad are reportedly ‘demanding an inquiry’ into the Saudi Arabia spending spree which offers the Blues a “get out of FFP jail free card”.

Chelsea spent £600m on new players in the 2022/23 season and now desperately need to sell players to balance their books before June 30 to balance their books and comply with FFP rules.

And Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), who earlier this month bought controlling stakes in four of the Saudi Pro League’s top clubs, have offered Chelsea a cash-laden olive branch, according to the Telegraph.

It’s claimed PIF have offered Chelsea £100m for Hakim Ziyech, Kalidou Koulibaly, Edouard Mendy, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Romelu Lukaku.

And although Lukaku has turned down the opportunity to move to Saudi, it appears negotiations for the other four are progressing nicely and Chelsea could be about to earn a tidy sum.

The timing of the Pro League’s trolley dash could not have come at a better time for clubs like Chelsea, and Wolves, who have also benefited from Saudi Arabia’s deep pockets and recruitment push with Ruben Neves agreeing a £47m transfer to Al Hilal.

And Metro now report that both domestic and European rivals of Chelsea are ‘unhappy’ at a deal that would see the Blues seemingly meet FFP demands in one fell swoop.

“PIF has so many investments around the world that it should be compelled to prove there are no conflicts of interest as it spends big with its bottomless pit of cash on ageing players,” said one anonymous European club.

“Watch clubs use Saudi this summer across Europe as a get out of FFP jail free card. It becomes even murkier should PIF have investment interest in both the selling and buying club.”

Though Chelsea aren’t specifically mentioned the comments are transparently aimed at the club owned by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, who, as Matt Law explains, have uncomfortable ties with PIF.

‘Boehly has long done business in Saudi Arabia and last year revealed that Cain International, one of the companies for which he sits on the board, had teamed up with the country’s Public Investment Fund over a $900 million (£700 million) investment in a luxury hotel group.

‘Chelsea have never commented on reports last year that PIF are also major investors in the club’s majority shareholder Clearlake Capital.

‘Boehly’s business interests in Saudi Arabia have already prompted questions about the sale of Chelsea’s unwanted players to the country’s Pro League at a time when the club need to drastically reduce the size of their squad.’

READ MORE: Fans too divided to stop PIF, Qatar, private equity from conquering football’s soul…