Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is selling the club.
The announcement regarding putting the club for sale was issued in a statement on the Premier League club’s website on March 3 (Singapore time).
The 55-year-old Russian businessman has been pressured over the past few days to part ways with the club amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine that made his ownership untenable.
Abramovich said it was an “incredibly difficult decision to make”, which “pains” him.
Loans written off
He has written off the £1.5 billion (S$2.7 billion) of loans he has made to the club, The Guardian reported.
Abramovich is said to be personal friends with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
The plan to sell comes after Abramovich gave “stewardship and care” of Chelsea to its foundation trustees following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In his latest statement, he said he will not ask “for any loans to be repaid” and proceeds of the sale would be donated to Ukraine war victims.
Abramovich was said to be hastily selling UK properties to avoid potential financial sanctions, The Guardian also reported.
Many of these billionaires’ assets have been frozen in the European Union.
The Russian billionaire bought the Blues in 2003.
However, Abramovich said: “The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process.”
ESPN reported that the trustees are seeking legal advice before responding to Abramovich’s instruction due to concerns that a charitable foundation is not a suitable entity to run a football club.
You can read Abramovich’s full statement here:
I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC. As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. 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.
The sale of the Club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process. 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. Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be 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.
Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the Club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the Club.
I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person. It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart.
Top photo via Getty
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