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30 Nov, 2021 10:07

Roman Abramovich ends three-year exile from UK football

Roman Abramovich ends three-year exile from UK football

Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich ended a three-year absence from UK football by watching Chelsea host Man United – and he has the chance to watch his side play two more games in four days if he remains in London.

Abramovich, who bought the reigning Champions League winners in 2003, had not attended a game at the club's Stamford Bridge home after visa complications had prohibited him travelling to the United Kingdom.

However, Abramovich watched Thomas Tuchel's league leaders rescue a point against Manchester United with a 1-1 draw on Sunday, according to a report.

Abramovich is said to have been there in person to see Jorginho equalize from the penalty spot after Jadon Sancho's opener, when the England livewire capitalized on a calamitous error from the the Italy international early in the second half.

The 55-year-old was not spotted by TV cameras despite the game being broadcast live in the UK and around the world, The Telegraph has said.

Abramovich - who became an Israeli citizen in 2018 - was in London last week to add his support to a campaign opposing anti-semitism, hosting Israeli president Isaac Herzog as part of an exhibition at Stamford Bridge about Jewish athletes.

He also paid a visit to the the Holocaust Galleries at the Imperial War Museum.

A spokesman for Abramovich said he had not attended Chelsea's conclusive 4-0 Champions League win at home to Juventus on Tuesday after he opted to return to Moscow to attend a charity event.

He returned to London shortly afterwards, reportedly attending his first Blues game since he witnessed their Champions League final win against reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in May at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto. 

He was also at Chelsea's 2019 Europa League win against London rivals Arsenal in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The Russian has revolutionized the London club since taking charge in 2003 and has bankrolled their success ever since, overseeing the capture of five Premier League titles, two Champions League trophies and countless other glories during his 18 years asChelsea owner.

German boss Tuchel revealed last week that he is yet to formally meet Abramovich since taking over from Frank Lampard in January, although his boss congratulated him on the pitch following that Champions League triumph.

"I think firstly, and most importantly, he is a football fan. A huge football fan. He’s in love with the game and in love with the details.

"He wants to know everything about it, about what is going on here at [training ground] Cobham."

Chelsea are not at home again until December 11 but Abramovich could watch them play two Premier League games in the capital this week, with a trip to Watford on Wednesday followed by a visit to West Ham on Saturday.

They are then away to Zenit St. Petersburg on December 8 in a Champions League clash that will decide whether Chelsea win their group and the Russian side reach the Europa League.