FILE – In this file photo dated Sunday, May 16, 2021, Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich attends the UEFA Women’s Champions League final soccer match against FC Barcelona in Gothenburg, Sweden. British journalist Catherine Belton and her publisher are facing defamation claims from billionaire Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich and other wealthy Russians over a book entitled “Putin’s People”, about the rise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to reports Wednesday July 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, FILE)
By Emmanuel Okogba
Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich is reportedly looking to offload the club and completely exit the UK economy to avoid possible sanctions for suspected ties with the Russian government.
Abramovich reportedly has close ties with Vladimir Putin led Russian government that recently began the invasion of Ukraine that has claimed the lives of a slew of people.
Recent reports are that Abramovich is now under intense pressure to sell the club with one potential buyer saying the Russian billionaire was ‘asking for too much’
“Abramovich is currently asking far too much,” Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, one of those interested was quoted as telling Swiss newspaper Blick after confirming he received an offer to buy the club.
“He is 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 on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich. I have to wait four to five days now. You know, Chelsea owe him £2bn. But Chelsea has no money. As of today, we don’t know the exact selling price.”
The asking price said to be in the region of £2.6 billion ($3.5bn) will cover the £1.5bn ($2bn) debt the club owes him as money he has put into its [Chelsea] management for the last 19 years he has been the owner. Abramovich originally bought the club for £300m ($400m).
On Saturday, Abramovich tried to distance himself from the club in a statement that handed ‘stewardship and care’ of the club its foundation trustees.
The Charity Commission, which regulates the Chelsea Foundation, however, received a “serious incident report” from the Foundation’s trustees amid concerns.
The Foundation’s six trustees held a meeting on Sunday to seek legal clarity and advice from the Commission over how, and whether, the Russian billionaire’s proposal can be enacted.
They also put into question whether a suitable legal structure can be put in place to afford them stewardship that falls within Charity Commission guidelines.
Roman Abramovich had earlier been barred from living in Britain as a fallout of the invasion and had not been to the club for months.
British MPs named him as one of 35 oligarchs enabling Putin’s ‘kleptocracy’ as identified by Russia’s opposition leader, Alexei Navalny – an accusation Abramovich denies vehemently.
Abramovich took control at Chelsea in 2003.