Roman Abramovich issues statement on sale of Chelsea
Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire owner of Premier League club Chelsea, has confirmed that the club is up for sale.
A statement from Abramovich appeared on the club's official website after 6pm London time Wednesday, reading: “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.
Statement from Roman Abramovich.— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 2, 2022
“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.
“Thank you, Roman.”
Abramovich purchased Chelsea in 2003 and in a spell just shy of two decades established them as one of European club football's powerhouses. His teams have won five Premier League crowns as well as two Champions Leagues and numerous other cup competitions.
Chelsea were recently crowned as FIFA Club World Cup champions after beating Palmeiras last month in Abu Dhabi.
There had been speculation that Abramovich was considering selling the club ahead of potential sanctions being implemented by the UK government.
He had issued a statement in recent days to say that he was handing over 'stewardship and care' of the club to the Chelsea Foundation Trustees.
However, the charitable foundation is understood to have expressed hesitancy at the move amid suggestions that it violated the foundation's constitution.
The listing of one of the sports world's most recognizable brands is sure to draw the interest of a range of suitors. Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss is reported to have expressed an interest in buying the club, but only as part of a consortium.
The announcement that Abramovich is to sell the club came just one hour before Chelsea are due to play Luton Town in an FA Cup fixture in London.