In a statement posted on Chelsea’s website, he said: “I have always made decisions with the best interest of the club in mind. In the current situation, therefore, I have made the decision to sell the club.”
He added: “I will not ask for the repayment of any loan. For me it has never been about business or money, but about pure passion for the game and the club.”
“In addition, I have instructed my team to create a charitable foundation to which 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 the provision of critical funds for the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as support for long-term recovery efforts.”
On the eve of the Carabao Cup final, the 55-year-old manager had already taken the step of “handing over to the trustees of the Chelsea Charitable Foundation the administration and care of Chelsea FC” with immediate effect, although the trustees had not immediately accepted the measure.
Just days later, on March 1, a report by Matt Law of The Telegraph claimed that Abramovich was actively seeking a sale of the club.
On March 2, the New York Times reported that Abramovich had asked the Raine Group, a New York-based consulting firm, to canvass potential buyers.
The Russian businessman has owned a majority stake in Chelsea since 2003, resulting in the biggest transfer spend in the club’s history.
Abramovich has bankrolled Chelsea to 18 championships, with some of the biggest stars in world football to have come to Stamford Bridge including Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante.
Roman Abramovich sells Chelsea
In less than a week, Abramovich has made two public statements from an owner who has rarely had much to say during his tenure, letting his pockets do the talking.
The second statement contrasts with the first issued before the Carabao Cup final, in which he indicated that he would move away from daily participation, but that he would not stop being an owner.
“During my nearly 20 years as owner of Chelsea FC, I have always seen my role as a custodian of the club, whose job it is to ensure we are as successful as possible today, as well as building for the future, while also playing a positive role in our communities,” the club’s February 26 statement read.
“That is why today I give the trustees of the Chelsea Charitable Foundation the administration and care of Chelsea FC. I believe that they are currently in the best position to look after the interests of the Club, the players, the staff and the fans. “
This statement came three days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and in the wake of sanctions imposed on Russian investors based in Britain who have connections to the Russian leader.
Abramovich’s ties with Putin have come under scrutiny and British MPs have called for Abramovich to step down from his role at Chelsea.
Its technical director, Thomas Tuchel, admitted before the Carabao Cup final that the club could become a target of negative public attention due to Abramovich’s links with Putin.
The development of the situation in Ukraine has been the subject of much criticism, including within Russia, and Abramovich’s daughter, Sofia, posted an anti-war message on social media on February 25.
Sofia Abramovich, the daughter of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, hits out on Instagram at "Kremlin propaganda" that claims "most Russians stand with Putin" over his decision to wage war on Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/PYOiVn1g5D
— James Franey (@jamesfraney) February 25, 2022
Who will buy Chelsea?
Now that he has confirmed his intention to sell the club, all eyes are on potential buyers. As the UK considers a list of 120 “corporations and oligarchs” for future sanctions, Abramovich appears to be distancing himself from the UK and his assets there, including Chelsea.
“Roman Abramovich, I think he is terrified of being sanctioned and that is why he is already selling his house tomorrow and also another flat,” said Labor MP Chris Bryant . “My concern is that we are taking too long on these things.”
The British government has promised to crack down on the influence of Russian investors and banks in London and that could affect Abramovich if the situation continues to evolve. However, that has not yet materialized in reality.
As reported by Bloomberg, offers started coming in before Abramovich confirmed he was going to sell the club, with US-based private investors registering tentative interest in buying the club, with one offer rejected.
The Athletic initially reported that the club was not for sale, but on March 2 the story changed, with the New York Times suggesting that the Raine Group was already talking to potential investors.
The New York Times named two interested so far: Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly. Wyss had already confirmed in an interview with the Swiss publication Blick that he had contacted him, but suggested that the current price was too high.
Chelsea is currently valued at around $2.1 billion, according to KPMG data, and a potential sale at that price would represent the highest ever paid for a soccer club.
Abramovich’s financial might helped make Chelsea one of the biggest forces in European football, with five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues that can largely be attributed to his deep pockets.
His personal investment has brought the club an estimated $2.2 billion worth of players over the past two decades, with $162 million spent in his first season in charge, a single-season high of $337 million in 2017. -18, and $136 million in 2021-22.
What will happen to Chelsea?
With four months to go before the transfer window reopens, questions about the impact of this move on the club’s transfer plans are likely to become a key issue heading into the summer.
There are current players with expiring contracts, such as Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, who have international suitors and whose final decision could be affected by the uncertainty.
The club is currently in the midst of one of the most successful seasons in its history, with multiple international trophies captured in just over a year under Tuchel: the 2021 Champions League, the 2021 European Super Cup and the World Cup. FIFA Club Championship 2022. The Blues are also through to the FA Cup round of 16 and the current edition of the Champions League round of 16.
Finalizing a sale before the transfer window opens would appear to be a critical step in helping the club make whatever moves the coaching staff deems necessary to remain competitive on multiple fronts in 2022-23.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.