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    15 November 2023

    Potential Scrutiny for Chelsea Amid Alleged Payments Linked to Ex-Owner Roman Abramovich

    Chelsea Facing Scrutiny over Abramovich Payments

    New reports have emerged linking Chelsea Football Club to potential rule breaches regarding payments made by their former owner Roman Abramovich. The revelations suggest that the Russian billionaire utilized offshore companies to transfer large sums of money to agents and associates on behalf of the club.

    If these transactions were not officially declared, they could be seen as a violation of financial rules. As investigations by both the Football Association (FA) and Premier League are already underway into possible financial irregularities at Chelsea, these allegations are expected to further intensify scrutiny surrounding how Abramovich funded the club’s period of unprecedented success during his 19-year ownership.

    In July, UEFA fined Chelsea £8.6 million for breaking Financial Fair Play rules due to incomplete financial information submitted between 2012 and 2019. These breaches were brought into light following the sale of the club to new owners led by American investor Todd Boehly and private equity firm Clearlake Capital.

    The FA and Premier League declined to comment on ongoing investigations but it remains unclear whether their probes correspond solely with Chelsea’s self-reported violations or if they also encompass the recent allegations disclosed in The Guardian report.

    A spokesperson from Chelsea responded stating that these claims are based on documents which have not been presented to the club. They emphasized that these allegations pre-date their current ownership and do not involve any individuals currently associated with the club.

    During the process of purchasing Chelsea FC, its current owners became aware of potentially incomplete financial reporting pertaining to historical transactions from the previous ownership. Consequently, they promptly reported these concerns to relevant football regulators and have actively cooperated with their ongoing investigations in line with their commitment to compliance and transparency.

    Abramovich acquired Chelsea in 2003, investing significant sums over nearly two decades which resulted in the club’s triumphs including Champions League victories in 2012 and 2021, as well as five Premier League titles. However, due to his assets being frozen following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he was compelled to sell the club last year.

    Clubs found guilty of violating financial rules can face fines and points deductions. Manchester City were charged with more than 100 breaches of financial rules earlier this year but have denied any wrongdoing. Everton is also under investigation by an independent commission for alleged Financial Fair Play violations.

    Recently leaked documents revealed a money trail connecting Abramovich to individuals tied closely with President Vladimir Putin. These claims surfaced through a global investigation led by journalists at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and Paper Trail Media.

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