Everton’s Premier League rivals Chelsea could be hit with a points deduction as they face questions over potential financial fair play breaches during Roman Abramovich’s ownership.
Abramovich sold the Stamford Bridge side to a Todd Boehly-led consortium in May 2022 after being hit with sanctions by the UK government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The billionaire purchased Chelsea in 2003 and injected hundreds of millions of pounds that transformed the club as they won five Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues, two Europa Leagues, five FA Cups, three League Cups, the Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
However, according to an investigation by The Guardian, leaked files show a ‘string of secret payments that may have breached strict football rules’. It is suggested that payments were routed through ‘offshore vehicles belonging to Abramovich’ and that beneficiaries included the agent of former winger Edin Hazard, an associate of Antonio Conte – who led the club to Premier League glory in 2017 – and other Chelsea staff members.
Lawyers speaking to the newspaper, who asked not to be named, said that Chelsea ‘may have broken Premier League rules that require the submission of accurate accounts, another provision demanding that clubs act in good faith, and the Football Association’s rules requiring disclosure of payments to agents’.
It is reported the Premier League are already looking into Chelsea’s finances from 2012-2019. If they were to be found guilty, football finance expert Kieran Maguire believes a points deduction down the line could be the punishment. He said: “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.
“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 behaviour.”
Chelsea are currently 10th in the Premier League table, having taken 16 points from their opening 12 matches. They sit four places and two points ahead of Everton.