Roman Abramovich, the Russian businessman, said that he has decided to sell Chelsea Football Club, which he bought 19 years ago, and has promised to donate all the money to help the victims of the war in Ukraine.
Abramovich issued a statement on the official website of Chelsea, writing:
“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 a 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.
As Roman mentioned in the statement that he would not ask for loans he has made to the club, which is reported 1.5 billion pounds or US$2 billion.
As of now, the Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss is interested in buying the club, but not on his own. “Abramovich is currently trying to sell all his villas in England. He also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly now. I, along with three other people, received an offer on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich”, Wyss said in an interview with a Swiss newspaper, Blick.
The 55-year-old businessman is alleged to have strong ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which he denied. He was also criticized for not referencing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the original statement. The Chelsea players were not told about Roman’s statement, and it was released less than an hour before the side’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at Luton Town.
Chelsea Football Club has won two Champions League, five Premier League, five FA Cup, two Europa League, and three League Cup, under Roman’s reign. Last August, they also won the UEFA Super Cup and in February, they won their firth Cup World Cup.
Abramovich bought the West London club in 2004, and he has appointed 13 different managers and the club has spent more than $2 billion in the transfer market under his ownership.
Although Russian, Roman also has Israeli and Portuguese citizenship – and is one of Russia’s most powerful businessmen. He is the primary owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC, and was also formerly Governor of Chutkola Autonomous Okrug from the year 2000 to 2008. Abramovich is also the second-richest person in Israel, the eleventh-richest person in Russia, and the richest person in Portugal, with a net worth of $12.5 billion.
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