Chelsea Under Investigation for Hidden Payments, Facing Potential Sanctions
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Questionable Financial Practices
Chelsea Football Club is currently facing scrutiny following an investigation conducted by The Guardian. The report reveals that owner Roman Abramovich made undisclosed payments, potentially violating financial fair play regulations and putting the club at risk of sanctions from the Premier League.
Unveiling a Decade of Hidden Payments
The documents obtained by The Guardian raise concerns about the club’s rise to success under Abramovich’s leadership. They expose a series of payments totaling tens of millions of pounds over a span of ten years.
Offshore Companies and Potential Non-Disclosure
These payments were funneled through offshore companies owned by Abramovich in the British Virgin Islands. The question arises as to whether these payments were properly declared in the club’s financial statements submitted to football governing bodies. While the Premier League already scrutinizes Chelsea’s financial records, the revelation of these hidden payments casts doubt on their accuracy.
Premier League Investigation and Previous Sanctions
The Premier League had already initiated an investigation into Chelsea’s financial information during Abramovich’s tenure. The new owners voluntarily reported incomplete financial data, leading to further scrutiny. Additionally, UEFA had previously sanctioned the club with a fine of 8.6 million pounds.
Abramovich’s Impact on Chelsea’s Success
Abramovich’s purchase of Chelsea in 2003 for 140 million pounds marked the beginning of the club’s success. He invested significant funds in acquiring talented players who ultimately secured championships for the team. However, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Abramovich was forced to sell the players in 2022.
Questionable Deals and Controversial Signings
The leaked documents shed light on various questionable deals and signings. In 2017, Abramovich’s company, Conibair Holdings, based in the British Virgin Islands, entered into an agreement with Italian agent Federico Pastorello, linked to former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. Pastorello received a payment of 10 million pounds for a stake in a Delaware-based business called Excellence Investment Fund.
Furthermore, the documents reveal that Abramovich’s company, Leiston Holdings, paid 7 million euros to Dubai-based company Gulf Value for “sports consulting and research” related to the transfer of Eden Hazard. The involvement of agents and undisclosed contracts raises concerns about potential non-disclosure to football authorities.
Other signings under investigation include Samuel Eto’o and William, who joined Chelsea in 2013 from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala. The circumstances surrounding William’s transfer, in particular, were controversial, as Abramovich intervened to prevent a potential move to Tottenham.
The investigation also uncovers payments made by Leiston Holdings to companies connected to Kerimov, the former owner of Anzhi Makhachkala, for “soccer-related services.” These payments amounted to 12 million euros.