The return to the Premier League should have been the pinnacle of success for Leicester City. However, after winning the Championship title, the joy of the fans is overshadowed by a number of problems surrounding the club. A loud scandal with financial violations, the threat of severe sanctions, transfer difficulties, and fan discontent—such is the reality for the Foxes on the eve of their return to the elite of English football. If you love sports betting, then log into Mostbet shaxsiy hisobingizga kiring and try to predict how Leicester City will fare in the new Premier League season. Will the team consolidate its position in the top division, or will it once again aim for the highest places?

Impressive Start and Expectations of Success

In the first half of the 2022/2023 season, the situation at Leicester looked cloudless. Under the leadership of Enzo Maresca, a former assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, the team set a blistering pace. The Foxes won 13 of their first 14 Championship matches, accumulating a solid 58-point lead by mid-season. Returning to the elite after last year’s relegation seemed almost inevitable. The main factors of the champions’ triumphant start were the reliable play of goalkeeper Mads Hermansen, the resurgence of defensive veterans Jannik Vestergaard and Hamza Choudhury, and an impressive attacking line. Newcomers Stephy Mavididi and Abdul Fatawu stood out, forming an effective scoring duo. The undisputed leader of the team was Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall—arguably the best player in the Championship at that time. Combined with the confident play of Ricardo Pereira, this made Leicester the clear favorite in the battle for promotion.

Downfall After a Scandalous Statement

However, over time, the brilliant start was replaced by an unexpected decline. The turning point was an away defeat to second-placed Leeds (1-3) in mid-February. Before this crucial match, Maresca made a rather overconfident statement that the meeting was more important for the opponent than for his leading team. Many perceived this as arrogance, which overly relaxed the Leicester players. After that game at Elland Road, where the Foxes had enough chances to win but failed to capitalize on them, the team completely lost its momentum. Until the end of the season, Leicester won only 3 of the remaining 10 Championship matches. A defeat to Bristol City forced the champions to relinquish their lead, although just a month earlier, they were 9 points ahead of their closest pursuer. For many fans, it was a déjà vu of the nightmare when their favorites squandered a comfortable lead in the fight for the Champions League spots in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons. However, at that time, no one expected a championship from Leicester.

Financial Scandal: Breach of Spending Rules

On-field failures coincided with a scandal that threatens the very existence of the club in its current form. After several months of investigations, Leicester was officially accused of potential violations of Premier League financial fair play rules. In April, the management published shocking financial reports for the problematic 2022/23 season, showing a staggering loss of £89.7 million—the fifth consecutive year the Foxes were in the red! The main reason for the failure was the uncontrolled growth of the wage bill. According to The Athletic, Leicester’s spending on player salaries exceeded 116% of the club’s income! CEO Susan Whelan tried to justify this by citing the dismissal of Brendan Rodgers, the loss of European prize money, and other factors. But it is clear that the club itself is to blame for the situation due to irresponsible financial policies in handing out astronomical contracts to players.

Prospect of Severe Sanctions

It is clear that the scandal will not go without consequences for Leicester. The club has already filed a lawsuit against the Premier League and the Football Association, trying to avoid a points deduction this season. However, the next campaign is unlikely to avoid a serious fine. Given recent precedents with Everton and Nottingham Forest, many experts believe that the Foxes will almost certainly have to start with a significant points deficit. More severe punitive measures are also possible. Considering that Leicester was late in providing the required reports, a hefty fine in the form of a deduction of 4 or more points from the team’s future results is not excluded. Plus, serious transfer restrictions are looming.

Threat of a New Decline

The club, which just seven years ago celebrated one of the most sensational achievements in football history, is now threatened with relegation back to the familiar Championship. Alternatively, the Foxes risk starting the next season with a significant points penalty, a depleted squad, and a forced sale of leaders. This is a case where a triumphant comeback to the Premier League risks turning into a new round of chaos and degradation for a once exemplary club. The championship title in the second division was supposed to make Leicester a role model for other teams and mark the beginning of a new successful era. However, in reality, the celebration of another rise has been replaced by disappointment and bewilderment at the mess the club has once again plunged into. It seems that the fabled 2015/16 season remains the peak of modern Leicester’s achievements. Fans can only anxiously wonder if they will ever repeat that incredible success.