MMA loans

Roman Abramovich confirms Chelsea are for sale and cancels £1.5bn loans

Roman Abramovich has confirmed he has put Chelsea up for sale and canceled the £1.5billion loans he made to the club.

Abramovich, 55, said in a statement on Wednesday that the net proceeds from the sale of the Premier League club would be donated to a charitable foundation which would be “for the benefit of all victims of war in Ukraine”.

The Russian billionaire has added that he will not seek repayment of money he has loaned to Chelsea since buying the club in 2003. The annual accounts of Fordstam Ltd, Chelsea’s parent company, showed in January that Abramovich loaned the club £19.9million last season, to bring the total related party loans to £1.514billion.

He has owned reigning European and world champion Chelsea since 2003. During that time, the club has won 19 major trophies, including five league titles.

It is understood Abramovich had already started preparing for the sale, with a consortium of billionaires this week making public their interest in buying the Premier League club. Billionaire Hansjorg Wyss told Swiss newspaper Blick on Wednesday that Abramovich “wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly” after the threat of sanctions was raised in Britain’s parliament.

Abramovich had previously entrusted the “stewardship and care” of Chelsea to the trustees of his foundation on Saturday after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The move came after a call for parliament to face sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine, with Chris Bryant, a Labor MP, telling politicians on Thursday he had obtained documents from 2019 which link Abramovich to illicit finance and “malicious activities”.

Bryant added that Abramovich should “no longer be able to own a football club in this country.”

Labor leader Keir Starmer meanwhile asked why Abramovich did not face British sanctions for the Russian invasion of Ukraine during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, saying: “Last week the Prime Minister said Abramovich was facing sanctions. He then corrected the record to say he wasn’t. Well, why the hell isn’t he?

Abramovich has always vehemently denied being close to the Kremlin or doing anything worth punishing.

The billionaire confirmed his desire to sell the Premier League club in a statement released on Chelsea websitewhich read: “I would like to address the speculation in (the) media in recent days regarding my ownership of Chelsea FC. As I have said before, I have always taken decisions in the interests of the club. In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the club, as I believe it is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the sponsors and partners of the club.

“The sale of the club will not be expedited but will follow due process. I will not ask for any loan repayment. It was never about business or money for me, but pure passion for the game and the club. In addition, I have instructed my team to create a charitable foundation where all net profits from the sale will be donated. The foundation will benefit all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing essential funds for the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting long-term recovery work.

“Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it hurts me to part ways with the club in this way. However, I believe it is in the interest of the club.

“I hope I can visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to you in person. Being part of Chelsea FC has been the privilege of a lifetime and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart.”

(Photo: Michael Regan – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)