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Roman Abramovich gives stewardship of Chelsea to charitable foundation trustees

Premier League
(Image credit: PA Images)

Roman Abramovich has handed over the running of Chelsea to the club's charitable foundation in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The decision will see Abramovich remain as Chelsea’s owner, but he will not be involved in any decision making at the Stamford Bridge club.

The PA news agency reported that the Russian-Israeli billionaire took the decision to protect Chelsea from continued links to the wider situation of Russia’s war with Ukraine.

Chelsea’s senior leadership set-up will not change, it is understood, with chairman Bruce Buck now the west London club’s most senior figure.

Abramovich’s step backwards will not have any bearing on any possible UK government sanctions, but was a decision understood to have been taken solely in Chelsea’s interests.

A brief statement from Abramovich on Chelsea's official website said he had always acted in the club's best interests but he now believed the foundation was best placed to 'look after the interests of the club, players, staff and fans".

The announcement came after the UK parliament was told Abramovich had been cited as a person of interest in 2019 because of alleged links to the Russian state.

Labour MP Chris Bryant also called for Abramovich to be stripped of his ownership of Chelsea, who he bought over in 2003 in a takeover that would forever change the face of English football and paved the way for a series of foreign takeovers of its biggest clubs.

"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," read the statement from Abramovich. 

"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."

Chelsea face Liverpool on Sunday in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley.

In his Friday press conference, coach Thomas Tuchel said the situation in Ukraine was dampening the club's excitement about the final.

"The situation in general for me and for my staff, and for everybody at Cobham, the players, is horrible," said Tuchel.

"Nobody expected this. It’s pretty unreal, like I said it’s clouding our minds, it’s clouding our excitement towards the final.

"And it brings huge uncertainty, much more to all the people and families who are actually in the moment more involved than us.

"And our best wishes, regards and thoughts are obviously with them, which is absolutely the most important thing."

Chelsea have won 19 major titles since Abramovich took control of the west Londoners and are the current Champions League holders.

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