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Abramovich sells Chelsea as a result of the Russian invasion

LONDON – In the face of the threat of financial sanctions against the Russians, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich confirmed on Wednesday that he is trying to sell the Premier League club which has become an elite machine to win trophies with his luxurious investment.

The Abramovich trophy became a high-profile target for politicians demanding that it be included among the wealthy and influential Russians affected by British sanctions after a week of Russian war against Ukraine.

“Please know that this was an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it hurts me to leave the club in this way,” Abramovich said in a statement. “However, I think this is in the best interest of the club.”

It is one of the most shocking business repercussions of President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Russia’s neighbor.

A potential buyer has already been released to reveal that Abramovich was trying to sell at a price of at least $ 2.5 billion. Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss said he “received an offer on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich” along with three other people.

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However, Abramovich insisted that “the sale of the club will not be accelerated but will continue due process.”

The billionaire oligarch has said he will not ask for £ 1.5bn ($ 2 billion) in loans from the club for 19 years of injecting money to raise the team into one of Europe’s most successful. The set of all major trophies was completed last month when Chelsea won the Club World Cup.

“I have instructed my team to create a charitable foundation in which all the net proceeds from the sale will be donated,” he said. “The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine.”

Abramovich faced calls to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine, which he has not done so far.

Parliamentary privilege was used by Labor MP Chris Bryant to say in the House of Commons that Abramovich was already seeking to sell property in London, speculating that “he is terrified of being sanctioned”.

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Abramovich did not comment on any attempt to seize his property.

The speed of Chelsea’s pending Abramovich exit is staggering, as this past weekend he tried to instigate a plan to relinquish some control in order to keep the club under his control, announcing plans to change the club’s “care and management”. , its foundation. administrators.

“I look forward to visiting Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person,” Abramovich said. “It has been a lifelong privilege to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its fans will always be in my heart.”

Chelsea had won the league title only once, in 1955, when Abramovich bought the club in 2003. Aided by a series of expensive signings, the club won the Premier League title two years later and has added four more since then. recent in 2017..

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The collection of 18 trophies in 19 years also includes two Champions League titles and the success of the Club World Cup that was witnessed in Abu Dhabi last month.

Abramovich rarely speaks in public, but gave an interview to Forbes last year, partly explaining Chelsea’s purchase in 2003 for £ 140 million, including £ 75 million in debt.

“In retrospect, especially with the public profile it would bring me, I might have thought differently about owning a club,” Abramovich told Forbes. “But at the time, I just saw this amazing game and wanted to be a part of it one way or another.”

His last public visit to a party at Stamford Bridge was last year after he also received Israeli President Isaac Herzog at the stadium in November.

Abramovich had not had a British visa since 2018, when an application for renewal took longer than usual and was withdrawn. That comes at a time when Britain has pledged to review the long-term visas of wealthy Russians following the poisonings of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury. Britain blamed Russia for the couple’s exposure to a nervous agent, an accusation Moscow denies.

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In 2012, a London High Court judge highlighted Abramovich’s connections to Putin in a ruling related to a legal battle. Judge Elizabeth Gloster said Abramovich had “very good relations” and a “privileged access” to Putin, but added that he could not “pull the presidential thread”.

Abramovich denied receiving orders from Putin.

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Abramovich sells Chelsea as a result of the Russian invasion

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