Roman Abramovich hands over ‘stewardship’ of Chelsea to trustees of club foundation

The Blues are set to face Liverpool in the League Cup final on Sunday

Karl Matchett
Sunday 27 February 2022 02:11
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Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has announced he is handing over the reins of the Stamford Bridge side to the club’s foundation.

The Russian businessman has been sole proprietor of the club since June 2003. Since he bought the club, he has helped Chelsea to secure five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, two Champions League crowns, and two Europa League trophies.

However, he now appears to have put the running of the organisation in the hands of members of the Chelsea Foundation, which describes itself as a registered charity involved in “community activities, including our international work and anti-discrimination projects”.

A statement from Mr Abramovich read: “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.”

The foundation trustees include club chairman Bruce Buck and Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes, along with the club’s director of finance Paul Ramos.

Sir Hugh Robertson, the chair of the British Olympic Association, is also a trustee.

As it stands, there are few details and little clarity over what it means for Chelsea and its ownership structure in a practical sense, although Mr Abramovich remains the owner.

A report in The Telegraph states that Mr Abramovich made the move, according to Chelsea, to “protect the club at a time when it was in danger of suffering reputational and strategic damage”.

Additionally, multiple reports state that provided he is not sanctioned, Mr Abramovich can continue to invest in the club.

Earlier this week, a leaked Home Office document led Labour MP Chris Bryant to suggest Mr Abramovich should “no longer be able to own a football club” in the UK, after the backbencher claimed the document stated the Russian remained “of interest to the HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] due to his links to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices”.

Chelsea will play Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday in the League Cup final, a chance for the Blues to add another piece of silverware after they won the Club World Cup in mid-February.

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