After an inquiry revealed financial ties with Roman Abramovich, Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem were fined 18 points and relegated from the Eredivisie.

The Dutch Football Association (KNFB) have fined Vitesse for chronically not complying with license criteria. This is a record deduction from the KNFB; as a result, Vitesse are now at the bottom of the Eredivisie with -1 point. It has only confirmed their relegation to the second division.

An interesting fact is that American Paxten Aaronson is on loan to this team. After learning the punishment, Vitesse made it clear that they would not be appealing the points penalty in a statement.

“A points penalty had been hanging over the club’s head for some time. After having previously received a fine of 100,000 euros [$106,700] – for failure to report the termination of the banking relationship by Revolut – such a punishment seemed unavoidable,” the club said.

“After all, the club was unable to meet certain licensing requirements. For example, Vitesse did not submit the half-yearly figures correctly, acted incorrectly with regard to ING Bank and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate and the Wladimiroff report was unable to demonstrate whether or not there are connections between Vitesse and Roman Abramovich.”

Just two years ago they were competing in Europe

The team has gone winless in their last seven games since beating Excelsior at the end of February. In another previous setback, head coach Phillip Cocu departed in November.

After the licensing committee receives more information from Vitesse, they will evaluate any other infractions and potential fines. The freefalling Dutch giants have also presented a proposal to reorganize.

They had recently competed in March 2022 in the Europa Conference League. For the time being, Vitesse will be able to continue operating as a club. However, that can change if the KNFB approves the reorganization plan.

How are Vitesse and Chelsea connected?

Vitesse had links with Chelsea for almost 20 years, ever since Roman Abramovich took over the London club. The Blues often sent youngsters like Mason Mount on loan to Vitesse so they could get experience. After Russia invaded Ukraine and Abramovich sold Chelsea, rumors began to circulate that he had covertly put around $125 million into the Dutch side.

Documents obtained by a Cyprus-based offshore service business MeritSerus exposed the covert financing from Abramovich for Vitesse’s acquisition, according to the Guardian. This comes after previous investigations by the KNFB failed to find any connection between the Russian mogul and the club.

The relationship between Abramovich and the club is the subject of an ongoing inquiry. This has been ran by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate. Nevertheless, a separate department from the one levying the point penalty is in charge of that inquiry.

“Because the ministry monitors compliance with the sanctions, it is not up to the licensing committee to determine whether there are conflicting ties with Abramovich”, the KNFB revealed. 

“The licensing committee concludes from the investigation report by Wladimiroff Advocaten that there are indications that Abramovich has or has had control over Vitesse and that there are risks of violation of sanctions and money laundering and therefore considers it important to await the ministry’s investigation.”

Photo credits: IMAGO / ANP : IMAGO / ANP