Chelsea FC is under renewed scrutiny regarding the funding of its success during Roman Abramovich’s ownership, as leaked files reveal a series of secret payments that may have violated football regulations, including “financial fair play.”
In a joint investigation by the Guardian and international partners, experts suggest that the uncovered transactions, totaling tens of millions of pounds over a decade, could prompt the Premier League to impose penalties on Chelsea, possibly including a points deduction.
The leaked files expose a trail of payments routed through offshore vehicles linked to Abramovich, raising questions about their declaration in accounts submitted to football governing bodies. Beneficiaries include the agent of star player Eden Hazard, an associate of former title-winning manager Antonio Conte, and Chelsea FC officials. Some payments are also tied to the acquisitions of players Willian and Samuel Eto’o.
This revelation comes from an international investigation named Cyprus Confidential, involving 3.6 million offshore records leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and Germany’s Paper Trail Media. The Guardian, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), and other media outlets have gained access to these records.
The Premier League is already investigating Chelsea’s finances following a voluntary report of “incomplete financial information” during Abramovich’s tenure made by the club’s current owners following their successful takeover.