The Hague (AFP) – Russian oligarch Valeriy Oyf is selling his majority share in Dutch football club Vitesse Arnhem amid the war in Ukraine, the first division outfit announced on Friday.

“Valeriy Oyf has decided to sell his shares,” Vitesse said in a statement, adding the 58-year-old would be resigning from the club’s supervisory board with immediate effect. 

Vitesse, one of the oldest professional clubs in the Netherlands, finished fourth last season and are currently playing in the Europa Conference League. They lost their last 16, first leg tie against AS Roma on Thursday.

“It pains me a lot to say goodbye to Vitesse, but in the current situation I am taking this difficult decision in the interests of the club, employees, fans, sponsors and other stakeholders,” Oyf said in a press release. 

“I have always felt very involved in the club and enjoyed the great performances,” continued Oyf, who bought into the club four years ago, adding that Vitesse would remain in his heart. 

The Russian oligarch has been under increasing pressure because of the conflict in Ukraine. 

According to Dutch media, Oyf is close to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, owner of Premier League giants Chelsea, who has been targeted by British sanctions. 

Abramovich, 55, had already announced his intention to sell the reigning European champions, who have won 19 major trophies since he bought the side in 2003.