Premier League fans did a double-take on Tuesday when it looked as though the fines list for Aston Villa had been leaked.
In the space of a hectic few hours, a photograph showing a Villa-branded piece of paper with various offences and eye-watering penalties on it started doing the rounds on social media.
Amongst the details on the mysterious leak was everything from being fined £200 per minute that you’re late for the coach and a £50 per day punishment for forgetting cakes for birthdays, naturally.
The truth behind the Aston Villa leak
However, while it might have looked at first as though it was a peek behind the curtain of Steven Gerrard’s regime at Villa Park, it soon became apparent that all wasn’t as it seemed.
That’s because the Birmingham Mail clarified that the leak showed the fine system that was in place during the reign of Dean Smith with a spokesperson from the club addressing the speculation.
Communications director Tommy Jordan explained the situation on Twitter by replying to a post by The Sun: “Just a year out of date… if you bothered to ask we could have advised that was from before Steven even took over.”
Aston Villa’s fine list… 👀— FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) July 27, 2022
What would you get fined for? pic.twitter.com/dpuxxKr9sz
So, sure, the Villa leak wasn’t quite as current as first thought, but it has nevertheless provided fans with fascinating insight into what the fining systems at top clubs actually look like.
Only those at Villa Park now will be able to tell you what has or hasn’t changed since Gerrard took over, but it’s hard to imagine that there won’t be any sort of structure in place to maintain discipline at the club.
Lampard’s fine system at Chelsea
However, whatever it is that the Liverpool legend might have implemented since coming south of the border, there’s good reason to think that it won’t be as brutal as the fine system employed by Frank Lampard at Chelsea.
Anyone reading the Villa leak over the last day or two must have been reminded of when a similar information sheet made its way out of Cobham, and raised more than a few eyebrows in the process.
As corroborated by the likes of the Guardian, the Daily Mail and the Mirror at the time of its emergence in late 2019, the staggering list detailed exactly how bonkers things can get at the highest level of the Premier League.
With such carnage as being fined £20,000 for turned up late to training or getting docked £1,000 for your phone ringing in a meeting, the madness of money in football couldn’t have been any clearer.
So, as fans stomach the latest look under the bonnet of how fines work in England’s top-flight, be sure to reacquaint yourself with the mind-boggling wage structure that was in place at Stamford Bridge.
— £20,000 if you're late for training
— £500 for ever minute you're late for a team meeting
A list of fines Frank Lampard has implemented at Chelsea. pic.twitter.com/EyNTrGtdxW— FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) November 12, 2019
Now, obviously, it makes sense that the penalties would be higher at a Champions League club like Chelsea compared to Villa, who – lest we forget – only returned to the top-flight in 2019, where the wages are much lower.
But that doesn’t make it any less jaw-dropping to read when you consider some of the deductions that Chelsea players could have faced make for more money than a lot of people will see in an entire year.
Though, it is important to note that the sheet clarifies that money collected from fines are put towards one of either team activities or charitable bodies.
And while we might not know what current fine systems are in place across the Premier League, the little information that we have gathered from both Villa and Chelsea over the years certainly is eye-opening.
Let’s just say that I’d be quadruple-checking that my phone was on silent every 10 seconds if Lampard was my manager.
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