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6 Oct, 2021 11:38

Russian owner Roman Abramovich is in London and set to visit Chelsea on first UK trip in three years following visa issues – media

After not being spotted in London for three years due to visa issues, Russian businessman Roman Abramovich is said to be in the city and set to visit Chelsea.
Russian owner Roman Abramovich is in London and set to visit Chelsea on first UK trip in three years following visa issues – media

The billionaire is thought to be likely to pay a visit the club's Cobham training facility, which he famously overhauled after taking over in 2003, and could attend a home game should he remain in England until October 20, when Chelsea host Malmo in the Champions League.

Chelsea are also away to west London side Brentford on October 16 and play three home games in six days starting with the visit of the Swedish side.

Premier League bottom side Norwich visit on October 23, with Southampton – who Chelsea beat 3-1 on Saturday to end a winless run of three matches including two successive defeats – visiting in the EFL Cup three days later.

Abramovich hasn't been seen in London since he experienced issues when trying to get an entrepreneurial visa three years ago, but the 54-year-old's spokesperson is visiting relatives as an Israeli citizen without the need for red tape, according to various sources.

Abramovich was at Chelsea's Champions League final victory over Premier League rivals Manchester City in Porto in May and attended their Europa League final victory in Azerbaijan in 2019, when they crushed Arsenal.

The trip is being mooted by some as a sign of underlying commitment to the club, which he bankrolled while fans were barred from stadiums and football in the UK shut down during parts of the pandemic.

There had been fears that Abramovich could have been thinking of moving on after he was denied the visa and a £1 billion ($1.35 billion) planned and much-needed redevelopment of Stamford Bridge was shelved.

Abramovich was said to be frustrated at being unable to operate in a country where he spent most of his time and invested considerable money.

The bureaucratic hold-up led to him missing Chelsea's FA Cup final victory in May 2018, when Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 in the final.

Despite being appointed in place of club legend Frank Lampard in January, impressive new Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel admitted that he only met his boss for the first time on the pitch after securing Champions League glory.

The pair were photographed together at the Estadio do Dragao, with Tuchel revealing that he had assured Abramovich he would "stay hungry" for more success.

"We are in contact, but not personally," he admitted. "We are in constant contact and he knows what’s going on from me indirectly – and now it is nice to meet him."

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