Roman Abramovich hands control of Chelsea to club’s charity foundation

Roman Abramovich hands control of Chelsea to club's charity foundation

Chelsea have just published a statement from Roman Abramovich on their website where the Chelsea owner announced he was “giving trustees of Chelsea’s charitable foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea FC.”

It’s a colossal moment in the club’s history, and it’s taking a while to digest what it means. Is he selling the club? Or just stepping back?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine – under the orders Vladimir Putin, has put Abramovich’s ownership of Chelsea under sudden scrutiny, but this is still almost totally unexpected. Labour MPs had begun questioning Russian ownership of clubs in the UK, but it didn’t yet feel like it had the weight to threaten the man who has been in serene command at Chelsea for almost 20 years.

It is likely that he was going to face increasing difficulties as sanctions expanded, so this is perhaps just a way of insulating Chelsea from that to some degree. The fact that the club owes him £1.5bn because of the way his ownership is structured makes things very complicated indeed.

Further developments are likely to come very quickly.

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