The Guardian reports former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich used offshore companies to make payments which appear to have been for club’s benefit; Chelsea spokesperson: “These allegations pre-date current ownership… and do not relate to any individual who is presently at the club.”
Sky Sports News’ chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol explains why Chelsea is, again, being investigated for Financial Fair Play breaches, during Roman Abramovich’s ownership.
Chelsea are set to face further scrutiny from the Premier League over reports of payments connected to the club’s former owner Roman Abramovich.
The Guardian has reported that Abramovich, a Russian billionaire who owned the club for 19 years until he was sanctioned by the British Government last year, used offshore companies to make payments which appear to have been for the club’s benefit.
The Premier League is already investigating the club after their new owners became aware of “potentially incomplete financial reporting” linked to the Abramovich era while completing their due diligence as part of the takeover and self-reported the information they discovered to the league and other regulators.
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Image: Abramovich flooded the club with cash in a relentless push for success
The Premier League has not commented on Wednesday’s report, which appeared in The Guardian as part of a collaboration led by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), but it is likely the league will now look closely at the information which has been reported.
A Chelsea spokesperson said: “These allegations pre-date the club’s current ownership. They are based on documents which the club has not been shown and do not relate to any individual who is presently at the club.”
Chelsea’s stance under their new owners has been consistent – to examine any allegations of impropriety under the previous ownership as soon as they become aware of them.
Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and invested millions as the club enjoyed unprecedented success, including Champions League victories in 2012 and 2021 as well as five Premier League titles.
Image: Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and invested millions
He was forced to sell the club last year after his assets were frozen by the Government following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The FA has confirmed it is investigating, although it is unclear at this stage whether its investigation relates to the information Chelsea self-reported or the new allegations reported by the Guardian.
Chelsea entered into an £8.7m settlement with UEFA after also self-reporting the information which came to light during the 2022 takeover to European football’s governing body.
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Explained: Why are Chelsea’s finances under spotlight?
Image: Abramovich reportedly made a secret £6.1 million payment to the agent of Eden Hazard, new leaked documents appear to show
Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol:
“Everyone knows how successful Chelsea were under Roman Abramovich but questions are now being asked since he was forced to sell the club about what exactly happened while he was in charge. The Guardian newspaper say they have seen evidence that has come from Cyprus which appears to show that secret payments were being made on behalf of Chelsea to benefit the club and which may have broken Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
“These payments worth tens of millions of pounds were made to advisors of players and managers. The names being mentioned by The Guardian are advisors of Eden Hazard, to Willian, to Antonio Conte. Those advisors have done nothing wrong in receiving this money but this may have broken FP rules.
“If these payments were secret, they were registered with the authorities. We already know the FA and the Premier League are investigating Chelsea’s finances, and UEFA has already investigated them. That was all because the new owners of Chelsea did their due diligence when they bought the club and they came across some payments which hadn’t been made declared to the authorities.
“What they did was they went to the Premier League, FA, UEFA and told them to look into it. Now we have these new revelations and as far as Chelsea are concerned, they are saying these allegations pre-date anyone who is at the club at the moment, and no one at Chelsea has seen that evidence first-hand.”