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Chelsea would not get an FFP exception for Drogba's wages; here's why

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Jamie McDonald

By now everyone's picked up the Didier-Drogba-returns-to-Chelsea story, and that includes the Daily Mail, who are making the curious claim that his projected role as player-coach will allow the Blues to write off some of his wages as a sort of accounting trick:

A player-coach contract though would also fall more comfortably into Financial Fair Play guidelines as part of his wages would be absorbed into the coaches budget.

Which all sounds great, but Financial Fair Play regulations don't differentiate between coaching and playing staff wages. It's all one lump sum so far as the break-even calculation is concerned, and it's extremely odd for the Mail to assert otherwise.

Could they be right despite that? There is, after all, an exception made in FFP for coaches involved at the academy level (that's under-18 and below), but even there the rules seem pretty clear. Let's take FFP Annex X (C)(1)(g), which states the following:

The following are not part of expenditure on youth development activities for the purpose of this requirement:
x) Player scouting costs;
xi) Fees to obtain the registration of a youth player, such as any fees paid to an agent or to another club;
xii) Selling, administrative and other general over head expenditure unless this expenditure can be directly attributed to the youth development activities;
xiii) Costs of employee benefits for employees only partly involved in youth development activities (for example, a coach having part-time involvement in youth development activities);

So unless Didier Drogba is being signed to be exclusively a u-18 coach (and not, for instance, a centre forward), his wages will count just the same as anyone else's, and Chelsea will not get any special bonus for a player-coach role. Myth busted, I think.