The owner of Chelsea since 2003, the Russian Roman Abramóvich, confirmed this Wednesday through a statement published on the club’s website that he has put the team up for sale: “I think it is the best thing for the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the club’s sponsors and partners”, he said. The text responds to the carousel of speculation that had been triggered after the Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss revealed in an interview granted in his country to the Blick newspaper, and published yesterday, that he had been considered as a possible buyer: “Three other people and I received an offer to buy Chelsea from Abramovich on Tuesday,” he said in a conversation in which he said the Russian tycoon was looking to “get rid of Chelsea quickly.”
Abramóvich assured yesterday in his text that “the sale of the club will not be accelerated but will follow due procedure.” He also referred to another of the details commented on in the interview by Wyss, who recalled that the club still owed the Russian tycoon around 2.4 billion euros that he had lent him. Abramoçóvich assured in his statement that he would not demand that any of the loans be repaid, and that, in addition, he had instructed his team to set up a foundation to which he will donate “all net profits. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the Ukrainian war. This includes providing critical funding for the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as to support long-term recovery work.”
Declaration of Roman Abramovich.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 2, 2022
According to The New York Times yesterday, the sale process was entrusted to the US investment bank Raine Group, which has also offered the operation to Todd Boehly, one of the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. Candidates have been asked to make their bids this week, with a Friday deadline.
However, the Swiss billionaire, former president of Synthes, a company dedicated to the manufacture of medical materials, such as screws and plates to repair broken bones, said in the interview that they had not been given an “exact sale price”, although several analysts They value the operation at the same 2,400 million euros that the English club owes Abramóvich. Although when referring to that figure, Wyss wanted to underline that “Chelsea does not have any money.”
The Swiss, 86, and known in addition to his fortune for his substantial donations to environmental and progressive causes, also told in the interview that “Abramóvich is trying to sell all his houses in England”, fearing that the British Government freeze your assets there.
The story coincides with the one made on Tuesday in the British parliament by the Labor deputy Chris Bryant, who assured that Abramóvich was “terrified of being sanctioned, so he is going to sell his house tomorrow [por ayer]and another floor too”.
The British Government has already acted against 275 Russians with ties to Vladimir Putin’s regime in reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has advanced that he has a list of another 100 people who will receive punishment throughout this week.
Against this background, the leader of Labor in Parliament, Keir Starmer, asked Boris Johnson yesterday why his government had not yet punished the owner of Chelsea: “He is considered suspicious by the Ministry of the Interior for his ties with the Russian state and his public connections to corrupt activities and practices,” Starmer said.
Abramovich handed over management of Chelsea to the club’s charitable foundation on Saturday, after initial discussions in parliament over possible sanctions on Russian businessmen connected to Putin. In the statement published on the club’s website that day, he presented the move in similar terms to those he used yesterday to announce the sale: “I have always made decisions in the interest of Chelsea,” he wrote on Saturday. “I remain committed to these values. That is why today I hand over the management of the club to the foundation”.
Yesterday he added that his relationship with Chelsea “has never been for business or money”, and left some sentimental touch: “Please know that it has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and that it hurts me to part with the club in this way” . And he wished one last meeting with the fans: “I hope to be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person”.
Wyss has not ruled out buying the club, but he does not want to do it alone, but with at least six or seven other investors.
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