Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich confirms he is selling football club amid Russia invasion of Ukraine
ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports on the Russian-Israeli billionaire's decision to sell the club
Roman Abramovich has confirmed his decision to sell Chelsea amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian-Israeli billionaire has owned Chelsea since 2003 and helped steer the Stamford Bridge club to 19 major trophies.
But the 55-year-old’s glittering reign in west London is close to an end, with a consortium of billionaires already making their interest in a deal public.
In a statement 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,” read Abramovich’s statement.
"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."
Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and USA investor Todd Boehly are understood to be two of the parties joining forces and now preparing a bid for the Blues.
Abramovich could yet come under UK government sanctions given his proximity to the Russian state, though he is also understood to have been attempting to broker a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.
He has vowed not to rush the sale of a club that have won two Champions League titles, as well as the Club World Cup title earlier this year under his ownership.
Abramovich has also pledged to donate any net proceeds from the club’s sale to help victims of the war in Ukraine.
"The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process," continued Abramovich’s statement.
"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."