Roman Abramovich has dramatically stepped away from controlling Chelsea, releasing a statement via the club’s official website.
“I am today giving trustees of Chelsea’s charitable Foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea FC,” he said in the statement.
The foundation consists of six people: Bruce Buck, Chelsea Women’s team manager Emma Hayes, Piara Power, Paul Ramos, John Devine, and Sir Hugh Robertson.
Multiple sources, including The Telegraph and Sky Sports, report that Chelsea are not for sale and that the club won’t entertain bids in the foreseeable future.
But The Telegraph claim that parties interested in buying Chelsea could try to ‘tempt Abramovich’s resolve’ with takeover bids.
It is further claimed that football decisions, such as contracts and transfers, will be the responsibility of Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech.
It means that the everyday running of the club will not be affected. The operational structure remains the same, with the foundation taking over the long-term planning and decisions.
Abramovich will be able to continue investing in Chelsea if sanctions are not imposed against him by the UK government.
It is still not known if Abramovich plans to return to running the club’s operations in the future.
As per The Telegraph, his decision to relinquish control of the club has been made in order to avoid ‘reputational and strategic damage’ to Chelsea. He is not trying to avoid possible UK sanctions with this move.
Pressure has been mounting on the UK government to place sanctions on Abramovich and freeze his assets in the country following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich is understood to have close ties with Putin. In the statement, he made no reference to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. His refusal to condemn the attacks could be interpreted as an expression of loyalty to Putin.