Business / Billionaires

Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich to Sell Chelsea Football Club

The surprise move comes after calls in the UK parliament to impose sanctions on wealthy Russians.

Mar 04, 2022 | By Joseph Low
Roman Abramovich
Image: Forbes

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has announced that he will be selling off London’s Chelsea Football Club. He had owned the team since 2003 when he bought it at US$190 million. Abramovic wants at least US$2.5 billion for the club and is willing to write off its debts, and proceeds would be used “for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine”. 

This latest move by the billionaire comes after growing calls in the UK parliament to impose sanctions on wealthy Russians for their country’s invasion of Ukraine. According to The New York Times, Abramovich’s huge fortune (net worth at US$12.4 billion) is said to have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The wealth amassed from cronyism is “shielded” overseas through shell companies and undisclosed transactions.

Earlier on Wednesay, US President Joe Biden said the administration is setting up a task force to ensure that sanctions on Russian officials and oligarchs are dutifully discharged. Many rich Russians fearing that they will be implicated quickly sold off their assets such as properties, yachts and private jets.

football fans stands for Ukraine
Image: Chelsea FC

Chelsea Football Club, supported by Abramovich’s wealth, has clinched several titles including the Premier League, FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League. In 2019, Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly tried to buy the team for US$2.9 billion but was rejected by Abramovich. But with this new development, the opportunity has once again presented itself for Boehly but not without competition. Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss is said to vie for the team as well.

In a statement on Chelsea Football Club’s website, Abramovich said: “I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC.”

“As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. 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.”

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