Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has announced he is selling Chelsea FC following public pressure after Russia invaded Ukraine last week.
Abramovich, who is believed to have close links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, had earlier handed over 'stewardship and care' of the club to the trustees of Chelsea's charitable foundation.
He said that the move would be in the 'best interests of the club, and added that he would be donating all of the net profit from the sale of the club to a newly-formed charitable foundation that would be for the 'benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine'.
He said in a statement: "I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC.
"As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart.
"In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the Club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners."
Abramovich's future at the club came into question as he faced the possibility of economic sanctions as the UK penalised a number of wealthy Russians in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
His statement continued: "The sale of the Club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process.
"I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid.
"This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and Club.
"Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. 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.
"Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the Club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the Club.
"I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person.
"It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart."
Abramovich took over at Chelsea in 2003, and has overseen the most sustained success in the club's history, with the club winning the Champions League twice in 2012 and 2021, as well as five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, and two Europa League trophies.
In total, they won 21 trophies under 15 managers with Abramovich in charge.
They currently sit third in the Premier League.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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