Chelsea FC owner, Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, said on Wednesday he would sell the football club 19 years after the purchase and vowed to donate the money from the sale to help victims of the war in Ukraine.
The Russian owner said in a statement that a sale was in the best interests of the reigning European and World Cup champions.
“In the current situation I have therefore made the decision to sell the club as I believe it is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the staff and the club’s sponsors and partners,” he said.
Abramovich said he would not require loans he made to the Premier League club – totaling £1.5bn ($2.0bn) – to be repaid to him and the sale would not be accelerated.
He has instructed his aides to set up a charitable foundation that would receive all net proceeds from the sale.
“The foundation will benefit all victims of the war in Ukraine,” Abramovich said in a statement.
“This includes providing critical resources to address the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting long-term recovery work.”
Swiss business tycoon Hansjörg Wyss told a newspaper he was considering buying Chelsea from Abramovich, who said over the weekend he would step down from running the club but did not mention any plans for a change of ownership.
“Abramovich is currently trying to sell all his villas in England. He also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly. I and three other people received an offer from Abramovich on Tuesday to buy Chelsea,” Blick Wyss quoted an interview published on Wednesday.
Abramovich bought the West London club in 2003 for a reported £140m and his investment contributed enormously to the most successful era in the team’s history as they won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and twice the Champions League.