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By ESPN Staff

Roman denies offering Russia incentives

Chelsea have rejected suggestions that the club's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich had offered Russia's players £40,000-a-man to beat England. Abramovich was accused of funding the bonus plan through the National Football Academy along with the Russian Football Union. It was alleged that £15,000-per-man was being paid for by the Russian Football Union while the remaining sum would be guaranteed by the Abramovich-backed Academy. But Chelsea insist the Russian owner has never offered his national side any financial incentive to beat England in their Euro 2008 qualifier at Wembley. A Chelsea statement, posted on the club`s official website, said: 'Contrary to media reports this morning in Russia and Britain, Chelsea would like to clarify that Roman Abramovich has never offered, proposed or promised any bonuses to the Russian team to beat England. 'The financial backing Mr Abramovich gives to Russian football, via his National Academy of Football foundation, is for the development of the game as a whole and is not focused on specific matches. 'Mr Abramovich supports grassroots football initiatives through such efforts as building football pitches, helping to organise youth sports academies and providing training for coaches.'