After 19 years of private ownership, Roman Abramovich has handed the keys of the club to the Chelsea charitable foundation and its trustees amid Russian president Vladimir Putin’s attacks on Ukraine.
Abramovich released a statement on the Blues’ website announcing the decision:
During my nearly 20-year ownership of Chelsea FC, I have always viewed my role as a custodian of the Club, whose job it is ensuring that we are as successful as we can be today, as well as build for the future, while also playing a positive role in our communities. I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. I remain committed to these values. That is why I am today giving trustees of Chelsea’s charitable Foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea FC.
I believe that currently they are in the best position to look after the interests of the Club, players, staff, and fans.
Abramovich refused to go into detail as to why he’s doing so, but it’s pretty clear considering he is an acquaintance of Putin. Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel even expressed his concern about Abramovich’s relationship with Putin after the horrific attacks, saying that it’s clearly distracting the Blues at the moment especially because of the criticism they’ve received:
Thomas Tuchel says he understands the criticism Chelsea and owner Roman Abramovich are facing in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/5fACgXdxBW
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) February 26, 2022
Abramovich is rarely seen at Stamford Bridge over the years and he hasn’t even given a public interview with media members within the team. Nevertheless, this is certainly a huge deal and it’s a courageous decision for the Russian to make as well.