Chelsea, Vitesse Arnhem links probed by Dutch FA
Dutch authorities investigate after Champions League claim from former owner
CHELSEA'S Champions League quarter-final clash with Paris Saint Germain tonight is in danger of being overshadowed by claims that the London side has been exerting undue influence over Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem, which is owned by an associate of Roman Abramomvich and has close links with the Blues.
The Dutch Football Federation has launched an investigation into the club's "organisational structure" after its former owner, Merab Jordania, claimed in a newspaper interview that Chelsea did not want the team, currently third in the Dutch Eredivisie, to qualify for the Champions League.
"I want to tell the fans of Vitesse the real story," Jordania said. "I wanted to be champion of the Netherlands, but London ultimately did not. Ambition is fine, but Vitesse may not be in the Champions League with Chelsea."
Uefa rules state that two clubs under the same ownership cannot play in the same competition.
Vitesse Arnhem is currently owned by Russian businessman Alexander Chigrinsky, described by the Daily Mail as as "a friend and business associate", of Chelsea owner Abramovich, and so far this season seven Chelsea players have spent time at Vitesse on loan.
Chigrinksy bought out Georgian businessman Jordania last year. Jordania initially stayed on as chairman, but since he left the club a "bitter dispute" has erupted between the two men, explains The Guardian. "Chelsea have dismissed Jordania's allegations and insist Vitesse are an independent club whose qualification for the Champions League would benefit their loanees' development, but declined to comment publicly on the matter," says the paper.
Jordania's accusation comes after he was banned from the Vitesse training ground after allegedly threatening to cut off the fingers of the club's chief executive.
He has also claimed that Chelsea encouraged Vitesse to sell star striker Wilfried Bony to Swansea in the summer.
"Last July, Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars said his club had been denied the opportunity to speak to Vitesse midfielder Marco van Ginkel about a possible move because of Chelsea's 'co-operation agreement' with Vitesse," says the BBC.