Chelsea owner Abramovich announces he's to sell Premier League club
Billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich has announced his intention to sell Chelsea, a move he says is "in the best interest" of the Premier League club.
Roman Abramovich, Chelsea FC’s billionaire Russian owner, has announced that he intends to sell the Premier League club.
The move comes amid growing political pressure on Abramovich following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has been met with global condemnation. He has been singled out by UK MPs as a potential target for sanctions, with opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer on Wednesday urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose penalties on the 55-year-old over his "links to the Russian state".
Abramovich strongly denies having close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin or the Kremlin.
Abramovich says Chelsea sale "in best interest of club"
“I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart,” Abramovich said in a statement posted on Chelsea’s website on Wednesday. “In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the club’s sponsors and partners."
On Saturday, the day before Chelsea’s Carabao Cup final defeat to Liverpool, Abramovich had said he was taking a step back from the day-to-day running of the world and European champions, revealing he was handing the “stewardship and care” of the club to its charitable foundation.
Several buyers reported to be circling
Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss told the newspaper Blick on Wednesday hat he had been offered the chance to buy Chelsea, but found the asking price too high. UK newspaper The Telegraph has reported that the West London club has at least three potential buyers.
Abramovich bought Chelsea in July 2003 for £140 million. During his time in charge, the Blues have won five Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues, two Europa Leagues, five FA Cups, three League Cups, two FA Community Shields, one UEFA Super Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup.
Abramovich to donate net proceeds from sale to Ukraine foundation
Abramovich says he is to donate "all net proceeds" from Chelsea’s sale to a charitable foundation set up “for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine”. “This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery,” he said in his statement.
He added that he is to write off £1.5 billion in loans made to Chelsea. “The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process,” he said. “I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid. This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and club."
Chelsea coach berates reporters over Abramovich questions
Chelsea are in action in an FA Cup tie against Luton Town on Wednesday. In the build-up to the clash, the team's head coach, Thomas Tuchel, lost his cool with reporters over their questions about Abramovich.
"You have to stop. I am not a politician. Honestly, I can only repeat it," Tuchel said. "I even feel bad to repeat it, to talk about it. I have never experienced war. I am feeling very privileged, I sit here in peace. I do the best I can. You have to stop asking me these questions. I have no answers to you."