Russian businessman Roman Abramovich has decided to sell Chelsea, as revealed by his official statement shared through Chelsea’s official website. Abramovic was not going to sell the club that he used to have in his heart for many years. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed the picture. There have been calls for the UK Government to impose sanctions on Abramovich after several Russian oligarchs have already fallen under such penalties.
Abramovich said he would not be asking to be repaid 1.5 billion pounds in loans he has granted the club during 19 years of injecting cash to elevate the team into one of the most successful in Europe.
The official statement goes like this:
“I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC,” it read. “As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart. 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.
“The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process. 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.”
After securing a second Champions League title last year, the Blues won the Club World Cup for the first time last month, in front of Abramovich in Abu Dhabi.
Before deciding to sell the club, the Russian transferred the stewardship and care of the club to Chelsea’s trustees to avoid selling the club. But it did not work out.
Chelsea’s rise under him
The 55-year-old purchased Chelsea back in 2003 for just 60 million pounds, at a time when the west Londoners had not won a league title since the 1955/56 season. In his first season with Chelsea, he splashed 150 million pounds to strengthen the club.
They finished second in the league after his take over. But after that season, it was the rise of Chelsea Football Club.
Since the takeover, the club has won 18 major trophies – the UEFA Champions League twice, the UEFA Europa League twice, the UEFA Supercup twice, the Premier League five times, the FA Cup five times, with 2010 providing the club’s first-ever league and FA Cup double, and the League Cup three times, making Chelsea the most successful English trophy-winning team during Abramovich’s ownership, equal with Manchester United, who have also won 16 major trophies in the same time span. His tenure has also been marked by rapid turnover in managers.