Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich Selling Chelsea FC After Threats of Sanctions by Biden


Joining the “uh-oh, they might be in danger” list of personages alongside Dr Oleg Anisimov who publicly apologised for Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine in a United Nations Climate Conference, is Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich.

On Wednesday (2 March), Abramovich announced that he is planning to sell Chelsea Football Club, no matter how difficult it is for him to decide to part with the team, as he believes it is “in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partner.”

Last week, the oligarch stated that he has given “stewardship” of the club to the trustees of the club’s charitable foundation.

However, no official date for when the sale will take place has been provided, though Abramovich asserted that the sale will not be rushed but “will follow due process”.

The Contentious Ownership

After a United Kingdom (UK) document paper leak in 2019, it exposed that Roman Abramovich was a person of interest owing to his “links to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices”.

In response, British Member of Parliament Chris Bryant commented in a Twitter post: “Surely Mr Abramovich should no longer be able to own a football club in this country.”

Despite the allegations, Abramovich has not been sanctioned by the UK thus far, according to the sanctions list website.


Nonetheless, the possible associations that he has to Putin’s cronies doesn’t sit well with many, and Abramovich is evidently cognizant of that.

The Russian billionaire maintains that he’s not an official figure for Russia.

According to Abramovich, the purchase of Chelsea FC has never been about the business or profits, but “pure passion” for the sports and the Club.

Considering Chelsea FC’s stellar record under Abramovich since 2003, wherein the football team won two Championship League trophies and five Premier League trophies, the man is clearly doing something right about the management of the team.


To further prove his devotion to the team, the businessman clarified that he will not be asking back for the investments that has injected into the team for the past two decades, when CNN asked about how his departure will impact Chelsea’s financial situation.

Sale Proceeds Will Go Towards Ukrainian Victims

In the official statement released on Chelsea FC’s website on Wednesday, Abramovich declared that the net proceeds from the sale will go towards a foundation that was created to help those who were affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The statement reads, “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.”

On the list of Russian public figures who have expressed sympathy towards Ukraine’s situation, that makes Roman Abramovich the second after Dr Oleg Anisimov.

Perhaps, his decision to completely cut ties with the football club and be transparent about the sale proceeds is in response to US President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday (1 March).

Biden said: “Tonight, I say to the Russian oligarchs and the corrupt leaders who built billions of dollars off this violent regime, no more.

“The United States Department of Justice is assembling a dedicated task force to go after the crimes of the Russian oligarchs. We’re joining the European allies to find and seize their yachts and their luxury apartments, their private jets. We’re coming for your ill-begotten gains.”

By declaring that the sale proceeds will go towards Ukrainian victims, is this Abramovich’s way of shaking his hands and showing that he has little to do with the “corrupt practices”?

Prospective New Owners of Chelsea Football Club

In April 2021, Forbes stated that Chelsea FC was worth $3.2 billion.

And Abramovich, who made his fortune through steel and investments, was tied for 142nd richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of $14.5 billion.


Prior to Abramovich’s public announcement that he was selling the team, Swiss Billionaire Hansjörg Wyss voiced his interest in buying the football team.

However, the 86-year-old billionaire admitted that his desire to purchase the Stamford Bridge Club was not holistic, and he only saw it as part of a consortium.

In an interview with Blick, a Swiss newspaper, Wyss revealed that three other people have received an offer to buy Chelsea from Abramovich, but there was no fixed selling price attached.

With regards to the starting price though, Wyss was quoted saying, “I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is currently asking far too much.”

In billionaire standards, how much is too much, especially given that Chelsea is a football team with a good reputation and award history?

For Chelsea supporters, they’re probably biting their fingernails and hoping that the team won’t land in the wrong hands—which is probably an outcome that Abramovich doesn’t want to see either.


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