Former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich reportedly funded the takeover of Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem in 2010. The Eredivisie team struggled financially at the time. Then, Merab Jordania, a former Georgian soccer player and manager, bought the club. However, documents now show that Abramovich actually bankrolled the deal.
The Guardian is claiming to have seen documents proving the Russian oligarch secretly helped finance the Vitesse takeover. Abramovich apparently funneled over $125 million through offshore accounts for the investment into the club. The Russian was still the owner of Chelsea at the time of the Vitesse purchase.
2010 takeover investigated twice by Dutch soccer
Rumors quickly surfaced of a possible involvement by Abramovich in the Vitesse deal. Jordania even mentioned his Russian friend in the press conference following the purchase of the club. However, he ultimately denied Abramovich’s association with the deal. This is the first time that actual proof has been found about the move.
The Netherlands Football Association previously conducted two separate investigations into the sale of Vitesse. They, however, were unable to find any evidence of the Oligarch’s involvement in the deal. Both Vitesse and Chelsea also denied that Abramovich provided any financial help in the purchase of the Dutch club.
Blues loaned 29 players to club from 2010-2020
Chelsea have had a very open relationship with Vitesse since the the 2010 deal. In fact, the Blues previously sent 29 of their players on loan to the Dutch side. Matej Delac was the first Chelsea youngster to make the temporary switch to Vitesse soon after Jordania bought the club. Other players to be loaned to Vitesse from Chelsea include Nemanja Matic, Christian Atsu, Dominic Solanke, Mason Mount, and Armando Broja.
More questions were raised about Abramovich’s involvement in Vitesse when Jordania departed the club after just three years. Alexander Chigirinsky, another Abramovich associate, took over the Dutch club in 2013. Both the team and Jordania claimed that Chigirinsky was financially involved in the 2010 purchase. Therefore, it was a seamless move.
Abramovich investment in Vitesse was exceedingly large
A year after Jordania left Vitesse, he made comments suggesting Abramovich’s involvement in the club. Lack of investments into the Dutch side frustrated the former team owner. At the time, Vitesse was in the running to win an Eredivisie title. Jordania claimed that “London didn’t want that.” He later tried to take the comment back.
The aforementioned leaked documents shed light on the financial aspects of the Vitesse takeover. Abramovic reportedly bankrolled the club from 2010-2015 by spending at least $125 million. Considering Vitesse had a total turnover of $15 million for 2014-15, this was an extremely substantial sum of money.
The Guardian reached out to Jordania, Chigirinsky and Vitesse for comment. Jordania acknowledged that Abramovich and Chigirinsky were friends of his and they both lent him money for the Vitesse project. Vitesse claimed to have no previous knowledge of any investment by Abramovich. Chigirinsky, on the other hand, did not respond to the news outlet’s request.
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