Abramovich had 'secret investment' in non-Chelsea players including one who faced Blues in Champions League tie

ROMAN ABRAMOVICH reportedly had secret investments in non-Chelsea players including one direct opponent.

BBC News reports the Chelsea owner held rights in players via a company based in the British Virgin Islands.

One such player was Peruvian winger Andre Carrillo who starred against The Blues for Sporting Lisbon in 2014.

The information comes from a leak of documents called the FinCEN files, seen by BBC Panorama, which reveal Russian Abramovich is behind off-shore company Leiston Holdings.

The company was actively investing in players through the now banned practice of third-party ownership.

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The practice sees investors buy stakes in a player's future transfer value and was banned in the Premier League in 2008 but was only outlawed internationally five years ago.

Sam Allardyce was famously sacked as England manager after just ONE game in 2016 after being caught on video offering advice on how to get around the ban in an undercover sting.

Former Uefa president Michel Platini once described third-party ownership as 'modern-day slavery'.

The controversy stems from the fact a company can own the 'economic rights' of a player and it is in their interest to see them sold as often as possible to cash in.

It first hit the headlines in the Prem after West Ham controversially signed Argentine legends Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano from Brazilian side Corinthians in 2006.

Leiston Holdings bought 50% of Carrillo's 'economic rights' in 2011 after loaning Sporting Lisbon around £850,000 to facilitate his move from Alianza Lima.

He then lined up against Chelsea TWICE six years ago.

He played for Sporting Lisbon home and away against the West London side during the group stage of the 2014 Champions League.

In both instances, Abramovich had an interest in 12 players on the pitch.

A spokeswoman for Abramovich highlighted how no rules or regulations were broken.

They said: "The fact that transactions may have been confidential, does not mean that they were unlawful or otherwise in breach of then applicable rules or regulations.

"The fact that we are not aware of this issue, confirms that there has been no wrongdoing as no action was taken."

But others, such as ex-FA chairman Lord Triesman, have questioned whether it was 'proper' for an owner to have an interest in opposition players.

Lord Triesman told Panorama: "I don't think it can possibly be proper for the owner of a football club to own players in other football clubs. That is precisely why third-party ownership is banned.

"It casts suspicion and a shadow right across football. On the documents I've seen I would've wanted, as chairman of the FA, to investigate them."

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