ATLANTA, GEORGIA—Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich admitted on Wednesday that he is selling his soccer club.
“I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC,” it read. “As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart,” Abramovich, 55 said.
“The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process. I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid. This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and club,” Abramovich added.
Sources said Abramovich is pressured to sell Chelsea due to fears that the U.K. government will sanction him and Chelsea could be seized as an asset.
According to reports, Abramovich is asking around £3 billion ($2.24 billion) for the Blues, but his ability to negotiate is severely hampered by the timing of his decision, apparently influenced by mounting pressure on the U.K. government to seize the assets of high-value Russian individuals with links to Russia president Vladimir Putin’s regime following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
If Chelsea will be sold, Abramovich earlier said that he will donate profits of any sale — he bought the club for £140m in 2003 and is owed £1.514bn in loans — to victims of the Ukraine conflict.
“Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated,” continued Abramovich’s statement. “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 recover,” he said.