Putin’s invasion into Ukraine has led to countries placing sanctions on Russia and this includes the oligarchs hiding money around Europe.
Foreign secretary Liz Truss claimed to have a ‘hit-list’ of Russian oligarchs that she was going to slam sanctions on. She refused to comment on whether Abramovich was on this list, but this did not stop any pressure from coming his way.
The danger for the Russian would be his assets being frozen, leaving Chelsea in an unprecedented situation.
The man renowned for starting out selling plastic ducks out of his car boot and spending billions on turning Chelsea into a World champions, was now losing control. His first play was to hand down ‘stewardship’ of the club to its charity foundation on the 27th February.
“I am today giving trustees of Chelsea's charitable Foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea FC.”
The Russian saw an opportunity for his assets to be safe, as assets of a charity cannot be seized by the government. However, legal experts have simply called this ‘stewardship’ role as nothing more than looking after Chelsea and meaning nothing legally.
On March 2nd, Abramovich released a further statement saying he was going to sell Chelsea.
The seemingly frantic scramble to sell the club before his assets were frozen now seems no more, as the sale of the club would not be ‘fast-tracked.’ Perhaps the oligarch has had assurances that the club he has owned since 2003 would be safe from jeopardy, as an established institution in the UK.
The owner further commented on how all net proceeds of the sale of the club will go to a new foundation to help the victims in Ukraine. A shocking statement for many, as the media has dubbed Abramovich and Putin to be friends.
Roman finalised his statement by saying that he hopes to be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to the club in what was felt to be quite an emotive statement.
What do Chelsea fans think?
Cries of ‘Roman Abramovich’ during a minute’s applause for Ukraine before the 4-0 win at Burnley was drowned out with boos from the home fans at Turf Moor. Chelsea fans seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place in this situation.
They have so much love for what Roman has given to the club, yet they’re met with the oligarch having his hand forced to sell the club for his relationships. Amanda Staveley, on the board of directors for Newcastle United, claimed that what was happening was not ‘particularly fair’ but that we need to hold ‘our relationships to account.’ Moral ethics aside, Chelsea FC will be sold after almost 20 years under Roman’s occupation.
The Swedish American consortium and Turkish billionaire Muhsin Bayrak seem to be front-runners to purchase the club.