Roman Abramovich has relinquished his reins at Chelsea amid pressure from the European community.
Chelsea have released an official statement confirming Roman Abramovich’s decision to hand “stewardship” of Chelsea Football Club to trustees of the club’s charitable foundation.
The decision comes just a few days after immense pressure from the wider European community following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. UK MP Chris Bryant even urged the British government to sanction the Russian oligarch in the House of Commons recently, asking for his assets to be seized, including the ownership of Chelsea.
In his statement on Chelsea’s official website, Abramovich said: “During my nearly 20-year ownership of Chelsea FC, I have always viewed my role as a custodian of the Club, whose job it is ensuring that we are as successful as we can be today, as well as build for the future, while also playing a positive role in our communities.”
Former majority stakeholder of Sibneft, Abramovich acquired Chelsea in 2003. He is a respected figure at Stamford Bridge due to his role in helping the Blues emerge as one of the most successful clubs in Europe. Under his leadership, the club have secured 18 trophies, including two UEFA Champions League titles.
Official statement by Roman Abramovich ?⤵️ #CFC
“I am today giving trustees of Chelsea’s charitable Foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea FC.
I believe that currently they are in the best position to look after the interests of the Club, players, staff, and fans”. pic.twitter.com/hrMsGrxaBz
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 26, 2022
“I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart,” Abramovich’s statement continued. “I remain committed to these values. That is why I am today giving trustees of Chelsea’s charitable Foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea FC. I believe that currently, they are in the best position to look after the interests of the Club, players, staff, and fans.”
The 55-year-old is yet to confirm whether he will relinquish his control of Chelsea permanently or even sell the football club. But his decision to step down momentarily is the latest among a series of football-related consequences of the ongoing geopolitical situation in Europe, including UEFA’s decision to relocate the Champions League final from Saint Petersburg to Paris.
The European football federation is also expected to end its partnership with Gazprom, the Russian state-owned energy giant, which also sponsors 2. Bundesliga outfit FC Schalke, who have opted to remove the brand’s logo from shirts while simultaneously parting ways with board member Matthias Warnig, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.