The murky relationship between sport and politics is in no small measure to blame for Chelsea’s and Todd Boehly stuttering campaign.

Partial causes of the Blues’ struggles this season can be traced back to the escalation in the Russo-Ukrainian war in February 2022.

The war precipitated Roman Abramovich’s departure from Stamford Bridge.

As international sentiment turned against Russia, there was concomitant and intense scrutiny on immigrant Russian businessmen with supposed close links to President Vladimir Putin.

Politics & Chelsea

Abramovich’s alleged proximity to the Kremlin made him a target for sanctions, a development with implications for his continued ownership of Chelsea Football Club.

But for the forced departure of the club’s much revered owner, the sugar daddy whose club ownership blueprint is still being replicated in the Premier League and beyond, Chelsea would be in a much healthier position today.

Chelsea Consortium

No, this is not a slight on the new owners, Todd Boehly and his consortium, who have demonstrated already that they have the wherewithal, financial and otherwise, to keep Chelsea competitive in the transfer market.

However, there is no denying that the transition from the Abramovich era was far from seamless, despite the best efforts of those charged with the process.

Chelsea had to contend with a transfer embargo, a moratorium on contract renewals for existing players, ownership uncertainty and the protracted sale of the club. It was a period of upheaval and uncertainty. T

homas Tuchel did remarkably well to keep the players focused on the pitch amid the turmoil off it.

Chelsea Spending Spree

With a combined outlay of more than £400m in two transfer windows, the new owners can’t be accused of failing to invest in the squad.

Unfortunately, the results on the pitch have been poor and incommensurate with the massive investment.

Understandably, sections of Chelsea fans are not enamored of Tuchel’s successor, Graham Potter. But are the owners completely blameless for the current morass?

If there is one criticism of Boehly it is that he comes across as a new owner desperate to flex his muscle and dispel perceptions that the club is poorer, financially, for Abramovich’s forced exit.

He is behaving like a kid with a pocket full of money on a buying spree in a well-stocked sweets shop.

Boehly’s other blunder, methinks, was to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Wheels off for Boehly?

The release of experienced personnel Abramovich trusted with the buying and selling of players, shrewd operators in the transfer market, was a costly misstep. The new regime’s evolving transfer strategy has a whiff of desperation about it.

It’s as if Chelsea are trying to buy themselves out of trouble by hoarding players. They are competing with and gazumping rivals for every half decent player available, and paying over the odds, too.

It’s a scattergun transfer strategy, with the deals done to date more eyebrow-raising than eye-catching, and the new arrivals (14 and counting) a huge quantity with a sprinkling of quality.

In addition to the more than a dozen new recruits since Boehly’s took over, among them Mykhailo Mudryk for £89m – a record for a Ukrainian player – and Joao Felix on a six-month loan for a fee in excess of £9m, a deal for Christopher Nkunku is all but sewn up, with the forward poised to join next season all according to TEAMtalk.

It’s a risky strategy for a club who may not even be playing Champions League football next campaign, unless there is a huge upturn in their fortunes and the top 4 rivals currently scampering away into the distance suffer an inexplicable loss of form.Todd

Todd Boehly v Abramovich

No, I’m not pining for Abramovich. I’m a Leeds United fan merely expressing the opinion that but for the war between Ukraine and Russia, and with Roman still at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea would be in a much healthier league position than they find themselves in at the moment.

His business dealings outside football and the morality of his politics and nature of his relationship with Putin aside, Abramovich was every football fan’s dream club owner.

He unstintingly bankrolled Chelsea in his obsessive pursuit of domestic and European dominance and left the club bigger and better than he found it.

So, Boehly inherited a European superpower. Whether his splurge on new players keeps Chelsea at European football’s top table remains to be seen.

First, Potter’s charges, six places adrift of the final Champions League spot, must close the significant gap to their top 4 rivals, which gap stands at 10 points at the time of writing.


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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