Chelsea may face points deduction over Willian and Eto'o transfers

Noah Strang
By:
Noah Strang
02/11/2023
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Past Chelsea transfers under investigation by the Premier League.

The Premier League is investigating two Chelsea transfers from 2013. If Chelsea are found guilty, they could face a points deduction.  

News Insights

  • Former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich may have used Chelsea transfers to secretly funnel money to “Russian entities.”
  • The Premier League’s investigation into Chelsea started in August.
  • The Willian and Samuel Eto'o transfers have been identified as suspicious signings by the Premier League.
  • The club could face a possible points deduction and massive fines from the Premier League.

The Chelsea signings of Willian and Samuel Eto'o are now being investigated by the Premier League in relation to potential breaches of the league’s financial fair play rules and other financial regulations. The Times has reported that certain documents provided by Chelsea to the Premier League show that former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich may have used Chelsea transfers to secretly funnel money to “Russian entities.” 
 
If Chelsea are found guilty of the current allegations against them, the club could face a possible points deduction and massive fines from the Premier League.  Intro

Chelsea transfer fees allegedly were paid to secret Russian entities 

The key allegation being investigated by the Premier League’s probe in Chelsea Football Club is that player transfer fees were secretly diverted to shell companies, family bank accounts, and other “Russian entities” connected to Chelsea’s former owner Roman Abramovich.   
 
The Willian and Samuel Eto'o transfers have been identified as suspicious signings by the Premier League due to the fact both players were signed from Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013. Chelsea paid Anzhi £30 million for Willian. Eto'o joined the Blues on a free transfer from Anzhi just one day after Chelsea signed Willian.  
 
The Premier League has made it clear that Willian, who currently plays for Fulham, and Eto’o, who is the sitting president of the Cameroonian Football Federation, were not involved in any under the table payments to secret “Russian entities.” 

All Abramovich-era finances under review by Chelsea 

Following the takeover by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital in May 2022, Chelsea’s new owners conducted a thorough review of all previous financial deals involving the club. Any anomalous transactions were reported to the Premier League and UEFA. 
 
UEFA, which is limited by a strict 5-year statute of limitations on all financial fair play breaches, agreed to a settlement with Chelsea and fined the club €10 million.  
 
The Premier League’s investigation into Chelsea started in August. The Willian and Eto'o transfer scandal is the biggest one uncovered by the Premier League to date, but more could be uncovered in upcoming years, as the EPL is not bound by a statute of limitations, like UEFA.  

Everton and Man City also under investigation 

In addition to investigating Chelsea, the Premier League is also investigating Everton and Manchester City for breaching financial regulations.  
 
Everton is alleged to have massively overstated the impact of COVID-19 on the club’s finances in order to balance the books and cover their extreme losses. Man City, meanwhile, has allegedly artificially inflated their revenue numbers through fake sponsorships with parties connected to the club’s Abu Dhabi-based ownership group.  
 
Man City is also alleged to have secretly paid head coaches, players, and other club staff through Emirati corporations, football clubs, and organisations.  

If the allegations against Chelsea are proven to be true, the club could face a points deduction. Everton, who have been charged with relatively few offences compared to Chelsea, are currently staring down the barrel of a 12-point deduction. Going by this standard, Chelsea’s punishment could be very severe.