Chelsea could face a points deduction after leaked files revealed a series of payments that may have breached strict football rules, reports suggest.
The investigation uncovered a series of payments worth tens of millions of pounds over a decade during Roman Abramovich’s tenure as club owner.
Abramovich sold Chelsea to Todd Boehly last year for a fee of £4.2 billion after the government imposed sanctions on the former owner in March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, transactions under the club’s former ownership have been investigated.
The transactions in question, thus The guardwere ‘routed through Abramovich’s offshore vehicles’ and appear to have been created for the benefit of Chelsea or individuals around the club.
The beneficiaries appear to include an associate of manager Antonio Conte, Eden Hazard’s agent and other Chelsea FC officials.
Chelsea could face a points deduction after leaked files revealed a series of payments that may have breached strict football rules during Roman Abramovich’s ownership
One incident involved Eden Hazard’s move from Lille to Chelsea in 2012
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Other payments appear to be linked to the purchase of players Willian and Samuel Eto’o, which was first revealed last month.
The Premier League and Football Association are already investigating Chelsea’s finances, while UEFA has already fined the club £8.6 million after current owners reported ‘incomplete financial information’ had been submitted during Chelsea’s tenure Abramovich.
However, the new document leak now raises new questions about whether Abramovich has consistently undermined financial fair play rules.
The first incident, which came to light as part of an international investigation known as the Cyprus Confidential, showed that on July 18, 2017, an Abramovich company called Conibair Holdings signed an agreement with Federico Pastorello, an Italian football agent with reportedly close ties with Antonio Conté.
The guard claim that Conibair agreed to pay Pastorello £10 million for a 75% stake in the Excellence Investment Fund (EIF).
Later that day, Chelsea confirmed Conte’s appointment as head coach and revealed that the Italian had signed a new contract for £9.6 million.
Another incident that came to light as part of the investigation related to Eden Hazard’s £35 million move from Lille to Chelsea in 2012.
Hazard’s move to west London emerged from tense negotiations with Chelsea officials and agent John Bico-Penaque, who reportedly demanded £6 million in commission.
And in March 2013, documents suggest that BVI-based Leiston Holdings – a company owned by Abramovich – agreed to pay £6 million (€7 million) to a Dubai-based company called Gulf Value FZE for ‘consultancy services (.. .) related to (…) sports research and advice’.
The new document leak now raises new questions about whether Abramovich has consistently undermined financial fair play rules
On July 18, 2017, a company owned by Abramovich signed an agreement with Federico Pastorello, an Italian football agent with reportedly close ties to Antonio Conte.
It is claimed that the contract was signed by Bico-Penaque on behalf of the company and it remains unclear whether the payment has been declared to football authorities.
According to The guardleading sports lawyers have claimed that some of the payments ‘may have breached rules including the Premier League and UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules’.
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire said: ‘If there is evidence that the club has used third party transactions to circumvent profitability and sustainability rules, then the sanctions would be financial or a points deduction.
‘The latter is more likely because any committee investigating a club’s circumstances wants to provide a deterrent that deters others from repeating such behaviour.’
Last month it was announced that there would be a Premier League investigation Chelsea‘s transfer transactions during the Abramovich era looks at secret payments the club made when they signed Willian and Samuel Eto’o.
The former Blues duo completed their transfer from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala to Chelsea in August 2013 and have been flagged for further investigation, as claimed by The times.
Chelsea’s current owners, led by Boehly, reportedly flagged the transfers as they were in the process of buying the club from Abramovich.
Brazilian winger Willian’s transfer to Chelsea in 2013 is reportedly under scrutiny
Samuel Eto’o’s arrival at Stamford Bridge from Anzhi Makhachkala is also being looked at
Brazilian winger Willian joined Chelsea a decade ago in a £30million contract from Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala after initially appearing ready to join Tottenham.
Former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker Eto’o followed in the same transfer window after taking a £10 million pay cut to join Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea squad.
Financial records show that in addition to the transfer payments made by Chelsea, further payments were sent to so-called ‘Russian entities’.
There is no indication that either player was aware of the related transactions, but their transfers are part of an ongoing investigation into the club under Abramovich’s reign.
Chelsea released a statement in response to the claims, explaining that the payments do not relate to any individual currently working at the club.