A fresh investigation has found previous Financial Fair Play violations committed by Chelsea, for which the Premier League may take disciplinary action.
There is new evidence indicating that Roman Abramovich, the previous owner of the Blues, disregarded FFP regulations while in control of the team.
Abramovich paid undercover payments to important individuals connected to Chelsea’s transfers and managerial changes, according to a collaborative investigation— anointed Cyprus Confidential —between the Guardian, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Germany’s Paper Trail Media, and other media.
Furthermore, a £6 million payment made to Gulf Value FZE in March 2013 for “advisory services […] linked to […] sports research and consultation” was discovered by Cyprus Confidential from Abramovich’s Leiston Holdings business. Eden Hazard, who began that season at Chelsea after leaving Lille, has an agent named John Bico-Penaque, who approved the transfer on behalf of Gulf Value FZE. The arrangement that saw Hazard move to west London is reported to have had Penaque demanding a commission payment of £6 million.
Some of the payments under scrutiny total £6 million, made to businesses connected to Vladica and Zoran Lemic, Abramovich’s advisors who were instrumental in the signing of Arjen Robben, Branislav Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic, and Carlo Ancelotti.
The Premier League declined to comment on Cyprus Confidential while they conducted their inquiry.
Although UEFA fined Chelsea £8.6 million after the club’s new owners admitted their involvement, the FA has stated that they are looking into the situation. Additionally, UEFA is not allowed to punish clubs for violations that occured more than three years ago.
A panel of 4 attorneys was questioned as part of the Guardian’s probe regarding possible punishments Chelsea would face. They all concluded that the club would probably violate FFP guidelines, which carry a point penalty if they failed to declare these payments.
With Chelsea’s new owners coming forward and claiming that “incomplete financial information” was provided when Abramovich was in control, the Premier League has already begun to look into the club’s finances from 2012 to 2019.
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.”