Chelsea FC’s owner Roman Abramovich is to sell the club and set up a charitable foundation with the proceeds to support the victims of the conflict in Ukraine.
The move comes just days after the Russian billionaire announced plans to hand over the “stewardship and care” of the club to the trustees of its community charity Chelsea FC Foundation.
Following an escalation in Russia’s attack on Ukraine and plans by MPs to curb the influence of Russian oligarchs in the UK, Abramovich has announced fresh plans to sell the club and set up a new charity to support victims.
“I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated,” said Abramovich in a statement on the club’s website.
“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.”
Statement from Roman Abramovich.— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 2, 2022
According to the Forbes Soccer Team Valuations list Chelsea is the seventh most valuable club in the world, valued at around £2.4bn last year.
Abramovich added: “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.
“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.”
Abramovich’s decision last weekend, to hand over the club to Chelsea FC Foundation trustees, is already the subject of talks between the Charity Commission and the charity.
“We have contacted the charity seeking information and, in line with our guidance, the charity has also made a report to the Commission,” said the regulator.