Abramovich puts Chelsea FC up for sale as sanctions clamor grows

  • Abramovich sells Chelsea FC after 19 years of ownership
  • Rossi says selling is in the club’s interest
  • Calls have grown to the UK to punish Abramovich
  • The net proceeds from the sale will go to the victims of the war in Ukraine
  • Abramovich says he will not ask for loans to be repaid

LONDON (Reuters) – Russian businessman Roman Abramovich said on Wednesday he would sell Chelsea Football Club 19 years after he bought it, putting the team on the path to sporting glory, and pledged to donate money from the sale to help victims of the attack. The war in Ukraine.

Amid growing calls for sanctions against Abramovich following Russia’s invasion of its neighbour, the metals mogul said in a statement that the sale is in the interest of the European and world champions.

“In the current situation, I have taken the decision to sell the club, as I believe this is in the interest of the club, the fans and the staff as well as the club’s sponsors and partners,” he said.

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Abramovich said he would not ask for the loans he made to the Premier League club – totaling 1.5 billion pounds ($2.0 billion) – to be repaid to him and the sale would not be accelerated.

He asked his aides to set up a charitable foundation that would receive all net proceeds from the sale.

“The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine,” Abramovich said in a statement.

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This includes providing the necessary funds to meet the immediate and immediate needs of the victims, as well as supporting long-term recovery work.

Swiss businessman Hansjoerg Weiss told a newspaper he was considering buying Chelsea from Abramovich, who said at the weekend he would step back from managing the club but did not indicate any plans to change ownership.

Blake was quoted as saying in an interview published on Wednesday. Read more

Trophy Hall

Abramovich bought West London FC in 2003 for £140m, and his investment contributed significantly to the most successful era in the club’s history as they won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League twice.

His purchase of the club helped change the landscape of English football with Chelsea breaking the stranglehold of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

They beat Brazil’s Palmeiras last month to become their first FIFA Club World Cup champions, having beaten Manchester City to become European champions last season.

A ‘seismic moment’, BBC presenter and former England striker Gary Lineker described the ad before covering Chelsea’s FA Cup fifth round match at Luton Town.

Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea FC, walks in front of the High Court in London on November 16, 2011. REUTERS/Susan Plunkett/File Photo

Chelsea fans on Kenilworth Road chanted the Russian before kick-off.

The 55-year-old, who holds dual Israeli and Portuguese citizenships, became one of the most powerful businessmen in Russia by earning massive fortunes after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Forbes estimated his net worth at $13.3 billion.

Since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Britain has imposed sanctions on 12 members of the Russian and Belarusian elite, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, and at least 12 banks and companies.

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British opposition Labor Party leader Keir Starmer asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday why there were no sanctions against the owner of Chelsea Football Club. Johnson, speaking in Parliament, said he could not go into specifics of specific cases.

But Secretary of State Liz Truss warned that she had drawn up a “target list” for Russian oligarchs, and said the government would impose new sanctions on them every few weeks.

The Financial Times said the government was also planning to confiscate property belonging to Russian oligarchs. Read more

David Davis, a veteran MP in Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party, said the sale should be banned until Abramovich could prove the source of his wealth.

“We must do everything to prevent him from selling his UK assets,” Davis said on Twitter.

Abramovich said the decision to sell was very difficult.

“I hope to be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to you all in person,” he said.

Abramovich turned his back on life in London in 2018 when the British government delayed renewing his visa after the attempted assassination of a former Russian double agent in England, which it blamed on Moscow.

“It has been a lifelong privilege to be a part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint accomplishments,” he said.

“Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart.”

(1 dollar = 0.7481 pounds)

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(William Schaumberg reports) Additional reporting by Martin Hermann and Kate Holton. Editing by Kate Holton and Ed Osmond

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Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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