It has been announced that Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has decided to sell Chelsea Football Club. In a statement released by Chelsea FC the club owner said “In the current situation, I have therefore decided 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.” The move comes as countries around the world begin to impose harsh financial sanctions on Russian oligarchs around the globe due to their supposed connections with President Vladimir Putin.
The European Union has already moved to seize a Yacht from oil tycoon Igor Sechin and similar sanctions may come into place for U.K based oligarchs. This looks increasingly likely as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Labour MP Chris Bryant have voiced their intentions to push for such sanctions to be introduced. This included the latter mentioning Abromovich by name.
At this point then the Oligarchs’ property is anything but secure and with the threat of severe financial consequences looming it is no surprise that many of Roman Abramovich’s U.K based assets including Chelsea Football Club are up for sale.
Rumours are already swirling as to who may be the next owner of Chelsea Football Club with the highest-paid athlete on the planet Conor McGregor even pitching in with a rather informal “bid” for the club on Twitter. While it would certainly be entertaining to see the Irishman move into the Premier League it is unlikely. It is certainly true that Conor McGregor is known for his wealth but, his net worth is in the region of £200 million meaning that Conor would need to put together a significant investors group to fund the move.
More likely, however, is that the club finds its way into the hands of Hansjorg Wyss or Todd Boehly. Both men are bonified billionaires with vast fortunes that are comparable with Abramovich. Hansjorg Wyss has no real background in owning any sports club however, he is rumoured to have put together a consortium capable of matching the staggering £3 billion asking price for the club. Todd Boehly has a background much more grounded in sports having large stakes in the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Dodgers.
In the latter case, he is known for spending heavily on talent, something that will seem familiar for Chelsea fans. This move wouldn’t represent the first till Todd Boehly has been linked with a purchase of a London football club as he was rumoured to have failed in a bid to buy Tottenham Hotspur in 2019. Perhaps the most likely suiter is Turkish billionaire Mushin Bayrak. The current Chairman of the AB Holdings group has stated publically that a bid of under £2.5 billion has been made and that he believes the deal is 90% likely to be completed. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if the Chelsea sale figure is significantly below the asking price set by Abramovich as the Russian is desperate to sell the club before assets are stripped from him.
Despite his obvious faults, Chelsea fans will understandably be disappointed to see an iconic figure leave the club in such tragic circumstances. As an owner Roman Abramovich brought unprecedented success to Chelsea Football Club and was known for his passion for the sport and ability to invest heavily in the playing squad each season. It seems the long time owner did not want the club’s name to be dragged into the incredibly serious events happening in Ukraine.
The Russian alluded to this in another statement given on Wednesday saying “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.” The net proceeds from the Chelsea FC sale will likely be an incredible amount of money has the club is worth substantially more now than the £140 million that was paid by Abramovich in 2003. It can only be hoped that Roman Abramovich is a man of his word and that these funds will go to the people of Ukraine.
As for Chelsea Football Club, this changeover will mark the end of the most successful era in the history of the club. Since the beginning of the Abramovich era in 2003 Chelsea have been the most successful club in England bagging 21 trophies across all competitions. This includes two famous Champions League wins and five Premier League titles. Whoever parts with the cash and takes over will have some giant boots to fill and Blues fans will pray for a smooth transition into the future.
Main image credits: Embed from Getty Images