Chelsea’s billionaire Russian owner to sell football club as sanctions threat looms

Roman Abramovich says he is selling Chelsea football club with reports suggesting he has put a £3 billion price tag on the club

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, a Russian billionaire, says he plans to sell the English premier league club, which he has owned for the past two decades.

In a message posted on the football club’s website, Abramovich said the sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process. Reports suggest that he has put a £3 billion price tag on the club.

“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,” Abramovich said.

The decision comes in the wake of growing pressure within the UK to clamp down on Russian oligarchs and their interests in the country after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Abramovich may be sanctioned by the UK government for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Abramovich said he will not be asking for any loans to be repaid and has instructed his 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,” he said.

Abramovich said this was “an incredibly difficult” decision to make. “It pains me to part with the club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the club.”

He ended his message by saying that he hoped to visit Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s stadium, one last time to say goodbye. “It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart.”