Chelsea Will Qualify For The Europa Conference League If They Win The Carabao Cup

Chelsea could strike a deal with UEFA to serve a ban from European competition in order to save money, it has been reported.

Chelsea will qualify for the Europa Conference League qualifying rounds if they win the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool on Sunday.

Doing so would bring them under Europe's financial restrictions, which are tighter than the Premier League's.

Kieran Maguire told The Athletic that Chelsea 'won’t make any money' from Europe's third competition and that they might agree with UEFA - as AC Milan did for 2019/20 - to step out of Europe for a year. That would allow them more financial freedom.

The football finance expert said as cited by Sports Central: 'It could be in Chelsea’s interests to do the same as Milan. We’re moving into the realms of three-dimensional chess here, which some clubs are capable of playing. 'By the time you pay the players’ bonuses for qualifying for the competition, transport, accommodation and other costs, you’re only making a small amount of money from the Conference League. 'You’ll struggle to get a decent number of fans to attend Stamford Bridge if the opposition is modest. That isn’t a criticism of them. It’s modern-day economics. 'If they are exceeding the UEFA limits, the question becomes: ‘Do we want to go and play in the Conference League next season?’. Because they won’t make any money from it.'

Under the Premier League's Profit & Sustainability Rules, clubs are permitted to lose up to £105million over a three-year period.

Chelsea narrowly stuck to this for the last monitoring period, which ended on June 30, 2023.

However, Europe's club licensing and financial sustainability regulations - the new version of financial fair play - are much more prohibitive.

Clubs are permitted to lose £68.5m over the previous two years under Europe's rules, provided they are not subject to sanctions already and are in 'good health'.

Furthermore, Chelsea will likely be expected to provide performance-based bonuses, which will add an extra salary burden.

And UEFA's expectations for amortising transfer fees will be slightly different.

In the Premier League and Europe, clubs can now only amortise transfer fees over a five-year period, meaning, for example, that they can spread the 'cost' of a £10m transfer over five years in financial calculations to £2m per year.

But as that rule only came into force for Premier League clubs in January, Chelsea have escaped doing that for the likes of Moises Caicedo, who they bought for £115m in the summer.

If they qualify for Europe, they will need to amortise his fee over five years rather than the eight that they currently do so. 

The Europa Conference League, in a purely financial sense, simply doesn't make it worth the hassle for a club the size of Chelsea.

Whereas Chelsea earned £82m from getting to the last 16 of the Champions League in 2022/23, West Ham gained just £16m for winning the Europa Conference League.