Roman Abramovich has not asked for any loan to be repaid to him during the sale process of Chelsea nor has he attempted to increase the price of the club during the takeover, according to a spokesperson on behalf of the Russian.
When Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale at the start of March in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he stated he would be writing off the £1.5bn debt owed to him in addition to all net proceeds of the sale being donated to a foundation created to help those impacted by the war.
Reports in recent days, however, claimed the UK government, who along with the EU have placed sanctions on Abramovich, feared the Chelsea owner would renege on that pledge to write off the loan and throw the takeover process of the club into doubt. However, in a statement released on behalf of Abramovich this evening, it has been reassured that is not the case and that the money will be frozen.
Published on Chelsea’s official website, the statement read: “Firstly, Mr Abramovich’s intentions in relation to gifting the proceeds from the Chelsea sale to charity have not changed.
“Since the initial announcement, Mr Abramovich’s team has identified senior representatives from UN bodies and large global charitable organizations who have been tasked with forming a Foundation and setting out a plan for its activities. The lead independent expert has had conversations with Government representatives presenting the structure and initial plans.
“Mr Abramovich has not been involved in this work, and it has been managed independently by experts with years of experience working in humanitarian organizations.
“Secondly, Mr Abramovich has not asked for any loan to be repaid to him – such suggestions are entirely false – as are suggestions that Mr Abramovich increased the price of the Club last minute. As part of Mr Abramovich’s objective to find a good custodian for Chelsea FC, he has, however, encouraged each bidder throughout this process to commit to investing in the Club – including in the Academy, Women’s team, necessary redevelopment of the stadium as well as maintaining the work of Chelsea Foundation.
“Following sanctions and other restrictions imposed on Mr Abramovich by the UK since announcing that the Club would be sold, the loan has also become subject to EU sanctions, requiring additional approvals. That means that the funds will be frozen and subject to a legal procedure governed by authorities. These funds are still earmarked for the Foundation. The Government are aware of these restrictions as well as the legal implications.
“To be clear, Mr Abramovich has no access or control of these funds and will not have any access or control of these funds following the sale. Despite the changing circumstances since his initial announcement – he remains committed to finding a good custodian for Chelsea FC and making sure the proceeds go to good causes.”