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By ESPN Staff

Abramovich refutes Russia bonus payment reports

LONDON -- Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has denied media reports he offered bonuses to Russia's players to defeat England in their Euro 2008 qualifier at Wembley later on Wednesday.

In a statement issued on the club's official Web site (www.chelseafc.com), the Londoners said Abramovich "has never offered, proposed or promised any bonuses to the Russian team to beat England".

Russia are second in Group E qualifying, with 18 points from eight games.

England occupy third place on 17 points, three behind leaders Croatia.