Chelsea’s latest accounts have revealed that Antonio Conte’s dismissal from the club was the most expensive in English football history. Chelsea lost two lawsuits to their former head coach, so along with the departure of his backroom staff and all the associated legal costs, Conte’s sacking cost the Stamford Bridge club £26.6million.
The previous largest pay-out by Chelsea had been to Jose Mourinho, when he claimed around £18m in compensation following his first Chelsea sacking in 2007. Chelsea’s huge bill for Conte’s departure was mitigated by the fact Maurizio Sarri also left the club in the same financial year, but his departure cost the club nothing as he moved straight to Juventus.
Conte is understood to have won an unfair dismissal claim against Chelsea, which earnt him almost £100,000 as per the statutory maximum pay-out. He is also believed to have been paid a significant compensation sum following a Premier League managers’ arbitration tribunal that ruled in the Italian’s favour too.
Although the Premier League tribunal was private, it is thought that Conte claimed for £9m in wages he thought he was owed as per the final year left on his contract, plus damages. Conte was sacked in 2018 just a few days after returning for pre-season training and was out of work until May 2019 when he took over at Inter Milan.
Chelsea managed to avoid huge pay-outs to sacked managers following the departure of Mourinho the first time and Luiz Felipe Scolari after him. Scolari received £12.6m for his sacking in 2009 and Chelsea promptly changed their policy, so that dismissed managers were placed on gardening leave and paid until they found another job; a policy that saved Chelsea millions over the years.
During his time at Chelsea, Roman Abramovich has sacked nine permanent managers, costing the club a total of more than £90m, but Conte’s dismissal was by far the most bitter and expensive. Both parties pointed the finger of blame at each other, despite the fact he won a Premier League title and the FA Cup during his time with the Blues.
However, Chelsea’s accounts also appeared to show Abramovich’s commitment to the club, despite still not holding a visa to work in this country and has not been seen at Stamford Bridge for almost two years. He pumped a further £247m into the club during the last financial year and has turned down numerous bids for the club over the past 18 months.
That said, Chelsea made overall losses of £96m and saw their annual wage bill rise by 17 per cent to £285m. New head coach, Frank Lampard, has still been given a £150m transfer budget, which he is free to start spending this month after Chelsea’s transfer embargo was lifted.
But what the accounts do show, is the crazy amounts of money within the higher echelons of Premier League football. You can be a failure at a club and still take home a hefty sum of money.