Abramovich gives Chelsea ‘stewardship’ to trustees

Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich says he is “giving trustees of Chelsea’s charitable foundation the stewardship and care” of the club.

Abramovich, who will remain the club’s owner, has made the move amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The decision was made on the eve of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup final match against Liverpool at Wembley.

“I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart,” Abramovich said in a statement.

“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.”

Following Abramovich’s statement which did not reference the invasion of Ukraine, Chelsea released another statement on Sunday which said the situation was “horrific and devastating.”

“Chelsea FC’s thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine. Everyone at the club is praying for peace,” said the west London club.

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust said it was “seeking urgent clarification” on what Abramovich’s statement on Saturday means for the running of the club.

It is not known yet if Abramovich will be sanctioned as part of the UK government’s measures against Russia.

BBC Sport understands Chelsea is not for sale, and the £1.5bn loan their owner gave to the club is not being called in.

Abramovich is one of Russia’s richest people and is believed to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He added: “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.”

The Chelsea Foundation runs the club’s community and education departments as well as other charitable activities. Its chairman is US lawyer Bruce Buck, who is also chairman of the club as a whole.

The foundation’s other trustees are Chelsea women’s team manager Emma Hayes, the club’s director of finance Paul Ramos, British Olympic Association chair Sir Hugh Robertson, Fare (Football Against Racism in Europe) chief Piara Powar and lawyer John Devine. –BBC

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