40 players ‘on loan’: The Chelsea system that FIFA wants to end

At this time and for financial purposes, Chelsea has transferred 40 players. A new rule of FIFA could limit this practice soon

This is Chelsea's system of transferring players to other teams

The purchase of Chelsea FC by the Russian billionaire entrepreneur Román Abramóvich in 2003, for GBP £ 140 million (USD $ 233 million), marked the beginning of a new era in the history of soccer. Since then they have seen purchases of relatively unknown or not so successful teams, by people or multi-million dollar companies.

Leer en español: 40 jugadores en préstamo: El sistema del Chelsea que la FIFA quiere acabar

Some examples of this are the purchase of Manchester City in 2008, and the purchase of Paris Saint-Germain in 2011. These cases have something in common: the immediate injection of a large budget for the purchase of prominent players with the goal of achieving soccer success as soon as possible. This is especially clear in the case of Chelsea.

According to data from Transfermarkt, in the two seasons immediately following the acquisition of the team by Abramóvich, Abramóvich spent almost GBP £ 300 million (USD $ 390 million) on new players, such as Claude Makélélé, Juan Sebastián Verón, Hernán Crespo, Arjen Robben, Petr Čech and Didier Drogba.

More players 'on loan' than any other club

Something that has marked this stage of Chelsea's history is its policy of transferring players. As the years have passed, the team sends more and more players to other clubs. In the current season, the team has transferred 40 players to other clubs around the world.

This contrasts sharply with other European teams such as FC Barcelona with 15 players 'on loan', Arsenal FC with 7 players 'on loan', or Paris Saint-Germain with 6 players 'on loan'.

Such a number is impressive, especially considering that the transfer system is usually used by teams to give younger players, usually from the club's academy, the opportunity to play regularly in smaller teams where they will not have as much competition within the squad.

With this, they are expected to gain experience and eventually become part of the club's permanent staff. In spite of this, at present there is only one player from the Chelsea academy who plays regularly for the team: the Danish defender Andreas Christensen.

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This is not an isolated situation. As TIFO Football pointed out in its analysis of the Chelsea transfer system in 2016, the only prominent player on the team that came from the academy in recent years was John Terry. In 2017, Terry left the team after being part of it for 19 years.

Moreover, there are players who never get to play with Chelsea despite being sent 'on loan' multiple times. The Croatian goalkeeper Matej Delač, for example, was part of Chelsea between 2010 and 2018. At this time he was transferred ten times, but he never played a single game with the English team.

The millions generated by this system

As both TIFO Football and Sportskeeda point out, Chelsea's biggest advantage of its transfer system is financial gain. Despite their high investments in player purchases, the team does not usually present losses. Unlike other clubs with similar purchasing policies, Chelsea has had no problems with the FIFA Fair Play Financial rules.

The reason for this is the amount of player sales that the team carries out, situations in which they usually earn a lot of money. According to Sportskeeda, Chelsea is the second team that has made the most profits with the sale of its players over the last decade, behind only Tottenham Hotspur, who carried out the sale of Gareth Bale for GBP £ 90 million (USD $ 116 million) in 2013.

An example of the gains of Chelsea through the transfer and sale of players is the case of Thorgan Hazard, player who bought in 2012 for GBP £ 443,000 (USD $ 576,000). Three years later it was sold to Borussia Mönschengladbach, after two transfer and not a single game played for Chelsea, for a little more than GBP £ 7 million (USD $ 9 million), achieving gains of almost 1500%.

In addition, while the players are 'on loan', part of their salaries are paid by the equipment to which they are lent, saving Chelsea money. The team takes advantage of the latter to transfer players not from their academy, who usually have higher salaries and have not had the expected success in the team. Tiemoue Bakayoko and Michy Batshuayi, for example, are players who are currently 'on loan'.

The FIFA intercedes

According to The Mirror, it seems this practice will soon be limited by FIFA. According to the report, thanks to complaints from a number of teams, the governing body of soccer worldwide is considering issuing a new regulation that limits the number of players sent 'on loan' by a club. This limitation would consist of only allowing a maximum of eight players 'on loan' per season.

However, The Daily Mail says that this rule would only apply to players over 21 and non-domestic players, that is, those who did not grow up in the country in which they play. If you check the list of Chelsea transfers for this season, you can see how this new rule would affect its model, because of the 40 transferred only 16 are players under 21 who grew up in England.

According to the same media, if Chelsea is not able to convince other clubs in the Premier League to reject the new FIFA regulations, the team will be forced to accept this change and, therefore, change its financial model.


LatinAmerican Post | Juan Diego Bogotá

Translated from "40 jugadores en préstamo: El sistema del Chelsea que la FIFA quiere acabar"

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