Chelsea Investigated over Claims They Stopped Vitesse Reaching Champions League

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich smiles during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Hull City at Stamford Bridge on August 18, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Chelsea are under investigation from the Dutch FA after former Vitesse owner Merab Jordania accused the English club of blocking the Arnhem-based team's route into the Champions League.

Jordania was recently booted from power in favour of Alexander Chigirinsky, a friend and business associate of Chelsea owner Roman Ambramovich. He claims the Premier League club are deliberately halting the Eredivisie side's progress by exerting an overpowering influence, something the KNVB has decided to look into, per Dominic Fifield of The Guardian:

The Dutch Football Federation has launched an investigation into the ownership structure of Vitesse Arnhem after the former major shareholder alleged Chelsea had exerted undue influence at the Eredivisie club and had even sought to prevent them from qualifying for the Champions League.

[...] Jordania's assertions, however, have prompted the Dutch federation, KNVB, to ask its member club to detail their "organisational structure" to ensure the integrity of the local competition.

Alastair Grant

Chelsea currently have four players on loan at Vitesse. Bertrand Traore, Lucas Piazon, Patrick van Aanholt and Christian Atsu have become important members of the squad this season, helping Vitesse to their current position of third in the Dutch league.

Sky Sports confirmed "as many as seven youngsters" have headed from Stamford Bridge to the Gelredome this campaign.

Jordania asserts that, although Chelsea have provided plenty of talented youngsters, Abramovich continues to thwart Vitesse's ascension into Europe with sneaky moves. UEFA doesn't allow any owner to enter two teams in the Champions League, as Jordania suggests Chelsea have major control over the side that failed to qualify for this season's Europa League.

Fifield provides Jordania's vital quotes, originally given to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, in his report:

I want to tell the Vitesse supporters the real story. I wanted to reach for the title, but 'London' didn't want that in the end. Ambition is fine, but Vitesse is not allowed to reach the Champions League … I will tell you now why [the manager] Fred Rutten left [last June]. He knew that he wasn't allowed to win the title with Vitesse.

In the winter he brought the team to the top. We had the feeling we needed one more player to win the title, Kelvin Leerdam. The transfer seemed to be a done deal when all of a sudden 'London' intervened.

HEERENVEEN, NETHERLANDS - DECEMBER 22:  Marco van Ginkel of Vitesse in action during the Eredivisie match between SC Heerenveen and Vitesse Arnhem at Abe Lenstra Stadion on December 22, 2012 in Heerenveen, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Jordania explained the situation caused "tension and chaos," while also saying Wilfried Bony was originally meant to remain at the Dutch club until the January transfer window, before he was suddenly offloaded to Swansea.

Last summer, Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars revealed his side couldn't speak with Marco van Ginkel due to Chelsea's "co-operation agreement with Vitesse," as reported by Simon Austin of BBC Sport. Van Ginkel has subsequently endured an injury ravaged season after moving to west London.

Suggestions that Chelsea are deliberately coaxing Vitesse into losing matches is outlandish. However, Jordania's revelations are certainly well-timed. Despite winning seven of eight league games between Oct. 10 and Dec. 15, Vitesse have managed just four victories in their last 13, taking one point from their most recent trio of encounters, per

ARNHEM, NETHERLANDS - DECEMBER 19:  Wilfried Bony of Vitesse and Edwin Dekkers (R) and Stefan van der Grijp (L) of ADO 20 battle for the ball during the KNVB Dutch Cup match between Vitesse Arnhem and ADO 20 at Gelredome on December 19, 2012 in Arnhem, Ne
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The KNVB's investigation is sure to get to the bottom of Jordania's claims. While many elite European clubs share developmental partnerships with lesser teams, it will be interesting to see exactly how much control a Champions League side can exert before being reprimanded.