Russion billionaire Roman Abramovich recently handed over control of Chelsea soccer team amidst the Ukraine crisis. The Russian oligarch owned Chelsea FC in the English Premier League and it seems he is trying the sell the London club in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to ESPN, Roman Abramovich is open to listen to offers for Chelsea as pressure mounts on his ownership amid Russia’s escalating invasion of Ukraine. By handing over “stewardship and care” of Chelsea to its trustees, the 55-year-old attempted to protect the club from a possible personal fine from the UK government.
However, sources tell ESPN that the trustees are seeking legal counsel before responding to Abramovich’s request. They cited worries that a charitable foundation is unsuitable for running a football club. Meanwhile, Abramovich is rumored to be considering selling Chelsea.
Swiss newspaper Blick quoted Swiss business tycoon Hansjoerg Wyss as saying in an interview “Abramovich is currently trying to sell all his villas in England. He also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly now. I, along with three other people, received an offer on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich.”
There is rising pressure on the UK government to freeze the assets of high-net-worth Russians in England with any claimed ties to Vladimir Putin. Chelsea has already stated that the club is not for sale. Abramovich has also categorically denied any ties to the Putin regime.
When ESPN contacted the club on Wednesday, they did not respond to a request for clarification. Chelsea would be frozen if the UK government acted and sanctioned Abramovich because it is one of his assets. In that case, he wouldn’t be able to sell the club or infuse any capital into it, which would be disastrous for the club.
Chelsea was purchased by Abramovich for £140 million in 2003. According to the club’s most recent accounts, he owes £1.514 billion in loans to the club’s parent company, Fordstam Limited, which he owns. Chelsea stated they were dependent on Fordstam Limited for its continuous financial support when they released their latest accounts, which showed a £145.6 million loss after tax for the year ended June 30, 2021, despite winning the Champions League.