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Premier League clubs vote to cap contract amortization at five years

The move comes as an attempt to limit clubs’ ability to game the financial system.

Chelsea FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Suck it, Todd.
Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

In what should (but won’t) be known as the “Todd Boehly Rule”, a majority of Premier League clubs have voted to limit the amortization of new contracts to a maximum of five years in order to limit clubs’ ability to spread huge transfer fees over long periods of time.

Big contracts with long amortizations have been du jour over the past year or so thanks to Chelsea and its new owner Boehly, who snaffled up a number of young players like Enzo Fernandez, Moises Caicedo, Nico Jackson, Cole Palmer, and Mykhailo Mudryk on seven or even eight or — in the case of Mudryk — 8.5 year contract lengths and for very high transfer fees. The long length of the contracts allowed Chelsea to spread payments out over a longer period of time, minimizing the short to medium term financial impacts of the deals.

No more! The Athletic reports that 15 clubs, including (ironically) Chelsea, have voted to limit those financial payments to a maximum of five years going forward; the decision does not impact contracts already in place. Notably, this ruling doesn’t prevent clubs from offering lengthy contract deals to players. Chelsea and every other club can offer whatever length of contract they want to their players. The transfer fee just has to be fully paid off within five years going forward.

On the one hand, this is a loophole that pretty clearly needed to be closed and it makes sense that the league take steps to prevent clubs from trying to game the system. On the other hand, it might now stop Boehly and Chelsea from signing bad players to stupid expensive and long term contracts that will hurt them in the long run, so IDK maybe this isn’t a good idea after all? I kind of like the idea that Chelsea might continually have a millstone around their necks with a bunch of these players if they don’t pan out.

The Premier League’s new rule now puts it in line with a similar rule implemented by UEFA last summer.