With the threat of
financial sanctions looming, Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich confirmed
Wednesday he is trying to sell the Premier League club he turned into an elite
trophy-winning machine with his lavish investment.
The speed of
Abramovich’s pending exit from Chelsea is striking as he was trying to
instigate a plan this past weekend to relinquish some control in order to keep
the club under his ownership.
But as Russia’s war
on Ukraine entered a seventh day, pressure was growing on the British
government to include him among the wealthy Russians to be targeted in
“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,” Abramovich said in a statement.
Abramovich said he
will not be asking to be repaid 1.5 billion pounds ($2 billion) in loans he has
granted the club during 19 years of injecting cash to elevate the team into one
of the most successful in Europe. The Blues won the Club World Cup for the
first time last month — in front of Abramovich in Abu Dhabi — after securing a
second Champions League title last year.
instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds
from the sale will be donated,” he said. “The foundation will be for
the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine.”