Chelsea at risk of facing point deductions following unearthing of secret payments from Abramovic’s era

FOOTBALL Chelsea at risk of facing point deductions following unearthing of secret payments from Abramovic’s era

Mark Kinyanjui 17:33 - 15.11.2023

Chelsea could be deducted points by the Premier League after alleged secret payments from Roman Abramovich-owned offshore accounts were unearthed from leaked documents.

Chelsea appear to be in trouble and at risk of a punishment for the second time in five years after  alleged secret payments from the Roman Abramovich era were unearthed in a trove of leaked documents.

The Blues are already under investigation by the Premier League over alleged financial breaches, which were reported to authorities by the Todd Boehly consortium once they took over the club in May 2022. 

Meanwhile, alleged payments related to the transfers of Willian and Samuel Eto’o are also under the microscope, having recently come to light. 

There is no suggestion that either player knew of the payments, which were allegedly made to Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, the former owner of the selling club Anzhi Makhachkala.

The club were also previously fined £8.6million by UEFA for submitting “incomplete financial information” between 2012 and 2019. 

Now an investigation by The Guardian and other media partners, using leaked documents, alleges Chelsea made a string of other secret payments which could have breached financial fair play and accounting rules.

Chelsea are alleged to have used offshore accounts linked to Abramovich to make payments worth tens of millions of pounds over a 10-year period.

The report claims the payments related to the Willian and Eto’o transfers were made from offshore entities controlled by Abramovich to some linked to people connected with Chelsea.

For example, the documents allege an account owned by Abramovich in the British Virgin Islands paid €7m (£6.1m) to a Dubai account in March 2013, with the contract signed by John Bico-Penaque, the agent of Eden Hazard, who had joined Chelsea the year before in a £32m transfer from Lille.

It is also alleged that an Abramovich-owned offshore account paid £10m for a 75 per cent stake in a Delaware-based business owned by Federico Pastorello, an Italian football agent with close ties to Antonio Conte, on the same day Conte signed a new contract as Chelsea manager in July 2017.

The documents have uncovered other such payments, which could land the club in hot water, despite the Boehly consortium self-reporting such potential problems to the FA, Premier League and UEFA after uncovering while doing their due diligence.

Abramovich bought Chelsea for £140m in 2003 and oversaw a period of success which included five Premier League trophies and two Champions League titles before selling up last year after being sanctioned by the UK government following Russia ’s invasion of Ukraine.

Despite self-reporting some payments, Chelsea could be fined or issued with a points deduction by the Premier League if such payments were not registered as part of the club’s original annual financial reporting. 

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The league is already investigating Chelsea’s finances between 2012 and 2019, while the FA is also looking into the allegations. UEFA, however, is less likely to impose any more punishments because it has already dished out a fine and it can only look into issues from the past three years.

 “These allegations pre-date the club’s current ownership. They concern entities that were allegedly controlled by the club’s former owner and do not relate to any individual who is presently at the club,” the club said in a statement released addressing the matter earlier.

“Chelsea FC’s ownership group completed its purchase of the club on May 30, 2022. During a thorough due diligence process prior to completion of the purchase, the ownership group became aware of potentially incomplete financial reporting concerning historical transactions during the club’s previous ownership. 

“Immediately following the completion of the purchase, the club proactively self-reported these matters to all applicable football regulators.

“In accordance with the club’s ownership group’s core principles of full compliance and transparency the club has proactively assisted the applicable regulators with their investigations and will continue to do so.”