Chelsea could be hit with a points deduction for the team’s part in a brawl with Leicester City players – and it may have a detrimental effect on their season.
Thomas Tuchel’s Blues stars clashed with Foxes players during a tense 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Leicester City’s Ricardo Pereira’s hard challenge on former Foxes defender Ben Chilwell sparked the melee, which saw both players and coaching staff on the touchline get involved.
Both clubs have been charged for their part in the fracas, but Chelsea could be hit with more than just a fine.
The Blues have been in the dock seven times in as many years now and were warned back in July 2016 that they faced a points deduction after they appealed a fine received for their part in a mass brawl with Tottenham.
Chelsea have since been charged twice more with failing to control their players but escaped with fines.
A former FA employee, with knowledge of the disciplinary process, told Mirror Sport: “It seems there’s an issue within the club.”
Both Chelsea and Leicester can respond to the charge, but they have until Tuesday to do so.
So what does it mean for Chelsea?
Chelsea are currently involved in a battle for a Champions League spot alongside Liverpool and Leicester City.
The Blues are in the driving seat as they are third on 67 points going into the final game of the season, while the Reds and the Foxes are in fourth and five-place on 66 points respectively.
Chelsea need only to win to guarantee a top-four finish, but a points deduction would complicate things.
How many points would be removed from their final tally is not currently known, but going on previous deductions they could be looking at anything from a single point up to 12 points.
In recent years, most clubs have been docked points for monetary reasons.
Sheffield Wednesday, for instance, were this season deducted six points for being in breach of financial fair play rules, while a year earlier Wigan were docked 12 points for entering administration.
The match, which has been dubbed the ‘Battle of Old Trafford’, featured a 21-man brawl and saw both clubs docked points for bringing the game into disrepute.
Manchester United had a single point docked for their part in the fracas, while Arsenal – who were involved in a similar brawl with Norwich the season prior – had two points deducted.
If this was to happen to Chelsea, who also have previous, then a win against Aston Villa on the final day of the season might not be enough to secure a top-four finish if both Liverpool and Leicester win.
As aforementioned, it’s not yet clear how many – if any – points Chelsea will be deducted or if they will have the points chalked off this season.
Ahead of the final game of the campaign, Chelsea boss Tuchel said: “You get absolutely focused, absolutely sharp when the kind of pressure that we have now is on.
“These last two matches for us – against Leicester and now Aston Villa – even if the pressure was on before, they are different. The situation is so clear now.
“It brings you to the edge. It brings you out of bed early. You think twice and become sharp. That’s what I demand of myself – to deliver under pressure.”