Roman Abramovich confirms he is selling European champions Chelsea

Russian owner wants to donate money raised to help victims of Ukraine war

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Russian Roman Abramovich confirmed on Wednesday he will sell Chelsea, 19 years after buying the London club, and promised to donate money from the sale to help victims of the war in Ukraine.

"I have always taken decisions with the club's best interest at heart," Abramovich said in statement published by the reigning European and Club World Cup winners on their website.

"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 said he would not ask for loans he has made to Chelsea - reported to total £1.5 billion ($2.0 billion) - to be repaid to him and the sale would not be fast-tracked.

He said he had told his aides to set up a charitable foundation which would receive all net proceeds from the sale.

"The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine," Abramovich said in the statement.

"This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery."

Swiss business tycoon Hansjoerg Wyss told a newspaper earlier that he was considering buying Chelsea from Abramovich, who over the weekend said he was stepping back from running the club but made no mention of any plans to change its ownership.

"Abramovich is currently trying to sell all his villas in England. He also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly now. I, along with three other people, received an offer on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich," Blick quoted Wyss as saying in an interview published on Wednesday.

Abramovich bought the West London club in 2003 and his investment has helped produce the most successful era in the team's history - winning five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League twice.

The 55-year-old, who has Israeli and Portuguese citizenship, became one of Russia's most powerful businessmen by earning fabulous fortunes after the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union. Forbes has put his net worth at $13.3 billion.

Updated: March 03, 2022, 5:25 AM
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