Chelsea fans are reacting to the news that long-time owner Roman Abramovich wants to sell the club.
The Blues’ Russian owner – who bought the west London outfit in July 2003, made this known in a statement yesterday.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK government have responded by freezing the assets of some Russian oligarchs.
To distance the club from the controversy, he put in control of six trustees initially. Today he has decided to sell.
Most Chelsea supporters are concerned by Abramovich’s sudden move.
One fan said: “Don’t sell Roman we love you.”
While another added: “Roman Abramovich is the best owner in club football.”
And a third said: “Thank you for all your time and money to make us the success we are today Roman Abramovich.
“I hope politics doesn’t keep you away for long.”
Earlier this week, Labour MP Chris Bryant used Parliamentary Privilege to also reveal Abramovich is selling his UK home and another flat, telling the House of Commons the Russian billionaire is “terrified of being sanctioned”.
He handed “stewardship and care” of Chelsea to the club foundation’s trustees on Saturday, in a move aimed to protect the Stamford Bridge club following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Chelsea owner has now publicly admitted he is looking to sell the club, with Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss claiming he has been offered the chance to buy the club. It is unlikely that chairman Bruce Buck, who has run day-to-day operations at Stamford Bridge since 2004, or Marina Granovskaia, who acts as a director of the club, would remain in post beyond any potential sale.
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.
He says the sale of Chelsea “will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process”.
“This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and club,” Abramovich said.
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.
“The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine,” said Abramovich.
“This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.”