Former senior Chelsea executive Marina Granovskaia to speak in trial of leading football agent

Marina Granovskaia - Former senior Chelsea executive Marina Granovskaia set to speak in trial of leading football agent
Marina Granovskaia - PA/Yui Mok

Marina Granovskaia is set to speak publicly about Chelsea for the first time during the trial of football agent Saif Alrubie.

Alrubie was charged with sending Granovskaia, who was in charge of the day-to-day running of Chelsea under former owner Roman Abramovich, an email that conveyed a threat with the purpose of causing distress on May 22, 2022, just over a month before the club was sold to Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.

The email is reported to have been related to defender Kurt Zouma’s transfer to West Ham United from Chelsea for just under £30 million the previous summer and Alrubie has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Alrubie claimed he was owed commission on the deal, but that was disputed because about £4.1 million of the fee was reserved as a severance payment for Zouma.

Granovskaia attended Southwark Crown Court on Monday and was named by Judge David Tomlinson among a list of witnesses in the case, which also included former Chelsea and West Ham manager Avram Grant, and agents Kia Joorabchian, Pini Zahavi and Barry Silkman.

Described by Judge Tomlinson as ‘holding an executive role at Chelsea under Roman Abramovich from 2012’ and ‘being in charge of the buying and selling of players’, Granvoskaia was not required to speak on Monday but is expected to do so this week.

Granovskaia, credited with being one of the most powerful figures in football during her time at Stamford Bridge, has not been seen by Chelsea supporters since leaving the club in the summer of 2022 and has never given an interview or spoken publicly on her time at the club.

Judge Tomlinson ruled that, because of the nature of the case and those people involved, that anybody with a personal connection to Chelsea or West Ham, including season ticket holders, could not take a place on the jury.

He also disclosed that he had once been a Chelsea member in order to buy tickets for his son, but that did not raise any objection from Alrubie’s defence barrister Matthew Radstone.

The jury was told that anybody who had a connection, either personally or through family or friends, with Zouma or former Chelsea players Antonio Rudiger and Tammy Abraham should declare it.

The case continues on Tuesday, when Granovskaia is expected to be in attendance and speak as a witness, and could run into the early part of next week.