Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich has said that he has made the “incredibly difficult” decision to sell the Premier League club and proceeds would go to victims of the war in Ukraine.
The Russian billionaire says he believes it is in the “best interest” of the Champions League holders if he parts ways with the club which he bought it in 2003.
Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss claims he has been offered the chance to buy the club.
Abramovich is owed £1.5billion by Chelsea after buying the club in a £140m deal in 2003, but says he will not ask for any of the loans to be repaid.
Abramovich is attempting to broker peace between Russia and Ukraine, according to his spokesperson, and says he has instructed his team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale of Chelsea will be donated for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine.
Abramovich’s full statement reads: “I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC. 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. 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.
“Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the club.
“I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person. 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.
This comes days after Abramovich said he was handing over control of Chelsea to trustees of its charitable foundation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.