Chelsea paid axed boss Conte £27m in record payout
Antonio Conte's bitter dismissal from Chelsea was the most expensive in English football history after the club lost two lawsuits to their former head coach.
Chelsea's latest accounts have revealed that Conte's departure, along with his backroom staff and together with the associated legal costs, cost £26.6 million, while also showing that owner Roman Abramovich pumped a further £247m into the club.
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The previous biggest Chelsea payout had been to Jose Mourinho, when he walked away with around £18m in compensation following his first sacking in 2007. Mourinho's departure from Manchester United in December 2018 cost the Old Trafford club £19.6m.
Maurizio Sarri also left Chelsea in the same financial year as Conte, but his departure cost nothing as he went straight to Juventus.
Conte is understood to have won a claim for unfair dismissal, earning him almost £100,000 as per the statutory maximum payout, and he is also believed to have been paid significant compensation following a Premier League Managers' arbitration tribunal that ruled in the Italian's favour.
Conte is thought to have claimed for the £9m in wages he felt he was owed as per the final year that was left on his contract, plus damages for what he felt constituted being prevented from immediately finding another job. Conte was sacked on July 13, 2018, just a few days after he and the Chelsea players had returned for pre-season training. He remained out of work until taking over at Inter Milan on May 31 last year.
Elsewhere, Liverpool's new club shirt is expected to become the biggest selling and most lucrative in the world after they agreed a heavily incentivised deal with Nike which could eventually be worth more than £75m a year.
The club will earn significantly less up front than the likes of Manchester United through their initial deal of £30m a year. However, they have struck an agreement that guarantees the club unprecedented profits on sales.
Clubs traditionally receive 7.5 per cent commission from the sale of a shirt and other merchandise, but the deal with Nike will land Liverpool 20 per cent.
Marketing bosses are privately optimistic that Nike's giant distribution powers can help the club's merchandise become a significantly more common sight around the world than that of the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris St Germain.
Sadio Mane has been crowned 2019 African Player of the Year, seeing off his Liverpool team-mate Mo Salah - winner in 2017 and 2018 - and Algerian Riyad Mahrez. (© Daily Telegraph, London)