Chelsea’s Abramovich hands club over to ‘administrators’ – Channels Television
Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich has entrusted the club’s affairs to the trustees of the Chelsea Charitable Foundation.
It comes amid UK sanctions against Russian entities following the invasion of Ukraine.
Mr. Abramovich is a Russian oligarch, one of the groups targeted by Western sanctions.
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There had been uncertainty over Mr Abramovich’s continued control over one of the UK’s most successful clubs amid the crisis.
“In my almost 20 years as owner of Chelsea FC, I have always seen my role as a goalkeeper for the Club, whose job it is to ensure that we achieve as much as possible today, as well as to build for the future, while also playing a positive role in our communities,” Abramovich said in a statement on Saturday.
“I have always made decisions in the interest of the Club. I remain attached to these values. That is why I today entrust the trustees of the Chelsea Charitable Foundation with the management and care of Chelsea FC.
“I think they are currently in the best position to defend the interests of the club, the players, the staff and the supporters.”
It is understood Abramovich made the decision in order to protect Chelsea from reputational damage as war rages in Ukraine.
The Telegraph reported that Abramovich would remain owner of the club and was not looking to sell the European champions.
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck is also chairman of the club’s foundation.
Blues manager Thomas Tuchel admitted on Friday that uncertainty over Abramovich’s future as owner hung over his club ahead of Sunday’s League Cup final against Liverpool.
“We shouldn’t pretend it’s not a problem,” he said. “The situation in general for me and for my staff, the players, is horrible.
“No one expected this. It’s quite unreal, like I said, it clouds our minds, it clouds our excitement for the final.
Earlier in the week, using parliamentary privilege, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran named Abramovich as one of 35 “key enablers” of Russian leader Vladimir Putin who should be sanctioned.
The British government on Friday ordered the freezing of all assets of Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Treasury has issued a financial sanctions notice against the pair, adding them to a list of Russian oligarchs whose assets and bank accounts in the UK have already been frozen.
Abramovich is not on the list.
Britain is a favorite destination for oligarchs and their families and has been criticized for not doing enough to stop their money flowing into the country.
Abramovich has provided Chelsea with £1.5 billion ($2 billion) in funding over the past 19 years.
Chelsea enjoyed an unprecedented period of success as a result, winning five Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns among a vast collection of silverware since taking over the club.
Portugal granted the 55-year-old citizenship in December and he was also granted Israeli citizenship.
Abramovich is worth nearly $14 billion according to Forbes. He ranked 142nd on the magazine’s 2021 list of the world’s billionaires.