Chelsea could soon face a Premier League points deduction after financial details regarding a series of payments have emerged. These apparently illegal payments are worth tens of millions of dollars and span a decade. This timeframe was when Roman Abramovich owned the club.

The Russian oligarch eventually sold the Blues after being sanctioned by the British government following the invasion of Ukraine. American businessman Todd Boehly purchased Chelsea from Abramovich for around $5.4 billion in May of 2022. The American has since recorded a net spend of around $800 million on player transfers during his short time at the helm.

According to a report by The Guardian, the payments in question went through special offshore accounts belonging to Abramovich. The transactions also apparently benefited both Chelsea and individual people involved with the club. This includes former manager Antonio Conte, Eden Hazard’s agent, and other high-ranking execs in the team.

The BBC also claims that Abramovich made a secret $40 million deal with two men close to Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2010. The men in question are even labeled “wallets” of Putin. One of those involved is apparently Sergei Roldugin, a close friend of the president.

The deal reportedly surrounded around the Russian advertising company Video International. The two sides traded shares of the company for seemingly far less than what they were originally worth. They subsequently earned millions of dollars profits. Abramovich did not respond to the news outlet’s request for comment on the issue.

The Premier League and Football Association (FA) are both currently investigating Chelsea regarding financial irregularities. This comes after UEFA fined the club over $10 million earlier this summer for the issues during the Abramovich era. Nevertheless, the club could face further action besides the fine.

Several transactions between 2012 and 2017 are under investigation

Eden Hazard’s move from Lille to Chelsea in 2012 is one of the key points of interest in the new findings. The playmaker was one of the top targets during the summer transfer market that season. Fellow Premier League side Arsenal also targeted Hazard. The midfielder, however, eventually moved to the Blues in a $38 million deal after other top teams refused to match the offer.

According to the aforementioned report, Abramovich sanctioned a $7.5 million payment to Hazard’s agent, John Bico, to complete the deal. Documents show that a company owned by Abramovich paid the fee to another company called Gulf Value FZE. Bico was involved in a deal with the latter company. It has not yet been established if soccer authorities were aware of the payment.

Even though Todd Boehly has raised eyebrows with his spending at Chelsea, the club is currently answering for financial discrepancies from the Roman Abramovich tenure.

Another incident involves a contract extension given to Conte in 2017. In July of that year, Conibair Holdings, another company owned by Abramovich, agreed to a massive business deal with Federico Pastorello. The Italian businessman is Conte’s agent. Conibair paid Pastorello about $12.4 million for a 75% stake in Excellence Investment Fund (EIF). Conte earned a new two-year contract extension worth around $11.9 million on the same day.

News broke last month that authorities are investigating the transfers of Samual Eto’o and Willian. Both players arrived at the club in the summer of 2013 from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.

Expert says points deduction possible to deter future issues

Soccer finance expert Kieran Maguire has claimed that Chelsea receiving a points deduction is “likely,” assuming there is sufficient proof of the wrongdoings. “If there is proof that the club has used third-party transactions to circumvent the profitability and sustainability rules then sanctions would be either financial or a points deduction,” Maguire told The Guardian.

“The latter is more likely as any commission investigating a club’s circumstances will want to put out a deterrent that dissuades others from repeating such behavior.”

Chelsea’s new ownership has been proactive and open in the investigation. Boehly and company even previously self-reported the club to UEFA. The Blues then defended themselves by claiming that none of the aforementioned shady deals involved anyone currently at the club.