London (AFP) – Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich on Wednesday confirmed he will sell the Premier League club amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian billionaire Abramovich has decided it is in the “best interest” of the Champions League holders if he parts ways with the club he has transformed since his purchase in 2003.
“As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart,” Abramovich said in a statement.
“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.”
Chelsea have won 19 major trophies in the Abramovich era, including their first two Champions League crowns and five Premier League titles.
But the 55-year-old’s reign will come to an end following the fall-out from the Russian invasion.
The British government have yet to order sanctions against Abramovich, who is said to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the Chelsea owner’s concern about potential seizing of assets is said to have sparked his move to off-load the Blues.
Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and USA investor Todd Boehly are reported to be two of the parties now preparing a joint bid for Chelsea.
Abramovich, who made a rare appearance to watch Chelsea win the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi recently, has also pledged to donate any net proceeds from the sale to help victims of the war in Ukraine.
“The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process,” Abramovich said.
“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.”
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