Abramovich says Chelsea involvement 'honour of a lifetime' as Boehly sale confirmed
Outgoing Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has called it the "honour of a lifetime" to be involved with the club, as its sale to Todd Boehly has been agreed.
The Russian-Israeli billionaire has owned Chelsea for 19 years, leading the Blues to 21 trophies and changing the face of English football forever in that time.
Abramovich put the club up for sale on March 2, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.
The 55-year-old was then sanctioned by the UK government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his links to Vladimir Putin.
In a statement, he said: "I would like to thank all the club’s past and current players, staff, and of course fans for these incredible years.
He added: "I am proud that as a result of our joint successes, millions of people will now benefit from the new charitable foundation which is being established. This is the legacy which we have created together."
Chelsea on Saturday confirmed an agreement for the sale of the club to Boehly and expect it to be completed on Monday.
US magnate Boehly, leader of a Clearlake Capital consortium, will buy the Premier League club for what will be a sports franchise record deal of £4.25billion.
A short statement on Chelsea’s website said: “Chelsea confirm the agreement to sell the club to the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Capital consortium with the transaction expected to be completed on Monday.”
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Chelsea’s sale has required UK government, European Union and Portuguese government approval due to the sanctions imposed on Abramovich.
The proceeds of Chelsea’s sale – expected to be £2.5b – will be frozen in a UK bank account on completion of the sale.
The UK government will then need to issue a further licence to allow those funds to be diverted to a new charitable foundation, to aid victims of the war in Ukraine.
The news was welcomed by Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, who have held positive talks with Boehly in recent weeks.
The fans group said in a statement: “The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust would like to congratulate the consortium led by Todd Boehly on the takeover of Chelsea FC.
“We wish you every success as the custodian of our club and look forward to a long, constructive and mutually beneficial relationship between you and Chelsea supporters.
"The CST has been very encouraged by the interactions we have had with Mr Boehly and his team over recent months, but the hard work starts now.
"It is now time to deliver both on and off the pitch in building a successful, inclusive and forward-thinking club with supporters at the forefront.”