Proceeds to Ukraine

Abramovich puts £3 billion price tag on Chelsea

Roman Abramovich
Selling up: Roman Abramovich (pic: SNS Group)

Chelsea’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich has confirmed he plans to sell the London club, with net proceeds going to help “all victims of the war in Ukraine”.

Abramovich is subject to pressure from MPs calling for sanctions against Russian oligarchs and he is believed to be closely associated with President Vladimir Putin, claims he has denied.

However, he has indicated a willingness to offload the west London club and his property assets, including his multi-million-pound mansion and penthouse in London, estimated to be worth £200m, to avoid having his assets frozen.

He is thought to be seeking £3 billion for Chelsea Football Club which he bought for £140 million in 2003. He has since loaned the club £1.5bn as he helped bring unprecedented success to Stamford Bridge, and is prepared to waive that debt.

Reports surfaced in Switzerland suggesting billionaire businessman Hansjorg Wyss had been offered the chance to buy it. Wyss said Abramovich wanted “to get rid of Chelsea quickly” after the Westminster developments.

Irish former Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight Conor McGregor also wrote on WhatsApp: “I wish to explore this @ChelseaFC”. However, even with a reported net worth of €170m (£141m) he may struggle to meet Abramovich’s asking price.

Abramovich, who has businesses in Russia and Ukraine, made his fortune following the collapse of the Soviet Union and is estimated to be worth around $13bn.

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His 15-bedroom mansion in Kensington has been valued in excess of £150m and he has a three-storey penthouse on the banks of the River Thames at Chelsea Waterfront which is worth an estimated £22m.

Following the invasion of Ukraine, the share price of his steel manufacturing company Evraz has plummeted 70% . It has been claimed materials produced by Evraz have been used in the building of Russian tanks involved in the war.

Abramovich transferred his 28.64% shareholding in the firm to himself from an offshore company on 16 February, just days before Putin launched his attack on Ukraine.

During Abramovich’s time in charge at Chelsea the club has won the Champions League twice, both the Premier League and FA Cup five times, the Europa League twice and the League Cup three times.

In a statement on the Chelsea website, he said: “I would like to address the speculation in the 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.

“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.

“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.

“Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the club.

“I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person. It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart.”

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