CHELSEA FC could face a points deduction after leaked docs revealed Roman Abramovich may have breached football rules.
A string of secret payments by the Russian oligarch ex-owner allegedly helped fund the club's success over more than a decade.
Leaked documents are said to reveal a hidden money trail worth tens of millions of pounds.
Evidence suggests off-book funds, routed through offshore accounts belonging to Abramovich, could have broken "financial fair play" regulations.
The transactions are alleged to have benefited Chelsea and questions are being raised over whether they were officially declared to football's governing bodies.
The beneficiaries appear to include an associate of former manager Antonio Conte, the former clubs of star signings Bertrand Traoré, Samuel Eto'o and Willian, as well as Chelsea FC officials.
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Experts said the transactions, uncovered by the Guardian and international partners, could lead to the Premier League imposing punishments such as a deduction of points or a large fine.
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire, author of The Price of Football, said Chelsea’s huge spending meant the club habitually flirted with limits on financial losses.
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.”
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Chelsea's finances were already being examined by the Premier League as part of an investigation covering the period from 2012 to 2019.
The west London club announced that "incomplete financial information" had been submitted while Abramovich was owner.
Uefa, the governing body of European football, has already fined the club £8.6million over the admission, and the Football Association is also said to be investigating.
The new documents – spanning a longer period – have sparked a fresh round of scrutiny over whether Abramovich repeatedly flouted football rules.
The payments came to light after a major investigation known as Cyprus Confidential into 3.6million records.
The alleged off-book payments link the signing of coach Antonio Conte and a business deal Abramovich made with an Italian football agent, Federico Pastorello.
He signed a deal with in July 2017 with Conibair Holdings – an Abramovich-owned company registered in the British Virgin Islands.
Conibair paid Pastorello – who is reportedly close to Conte – £10million for a 75 per cent stake in a US-based business fund.
The same day, Chelsea announced that Conte had signed a new £9.6million-a-year contract.
Another Abramovich owned company, Leiston Holdings, also paid £1million in 2013 to Bertrand Traoré's ex-club, Association des Jeunes Espoirs de Bobo.
The contract was signed two months after the full-back officially signed for the Blues.
Other payments are said to be related to the signings of Willian and Samuel Eto'o in 2013.
A further company owned by the ex-Chelsea boss made payments that appear to have benefited the owner of their former a club, Anzhi Makhachkala.
After the payments were made the now defunct club, Chelsea signed Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o and Brazil forward Willian in two days.
It comes after bombshell files linked the oligarch to two men dubbed Vladimir Putin's "wallets", according to a BBC investigation.
The dossier of uncovered documents reportedly reveal new evidence that links Abramovich to a secret £26million deal in 2010.
The alleged covert deal saw a transfer of shares in Video International, a highly-profitable Russian advertising company, for less than they appeared to be worth.
The transactions were allegedly made by companies owned by a trust connected with Abramovich to two members of Putin's inner circle, who in return received millions of dollars in dividends.
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Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK and EU over to his links to Putin following his bloody invasion of Ukraine.
He was forced to sell Chelsea FC last year after 19 years as owner.
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