The Russian billionaire who owns Chelsea FC announces he will sell the club as sanctions target oligarchs
- The Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich announced he was selling Chelsea FC.
- The UK government has levied sanctions on businesses and oligarchs with ties to Vladimir Putin.
The Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich announced on Wednesday that he was selling the English Premier League team Chelsea FC.
"As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the Club's best interest at heart," he said in a statement. "In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the Club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club's sponsors and partners."
He added: "Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine."
Abramovich's announcement came in the wake of sweeping sanctions from the West targeting Russian oligarchs after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine last week.
The announcement from one of England's top clubs rocked the football world. Abramovich has owned the team since 2003, when he bought the club for about $190 million. According to The New York Times, Abramovich is said to be looking to sell the club for $2.5 billion.
Since Abramovich's purchase of the club, Chelsea has won the Premier League five times, most recently in 2017. The Blues have also won five FA Cups and two Champions League titles since 2003.
According to Sportico, Raine Group, an investment bank that has worked with Abramovich in the past, is helping to coordinate the sale. Raine Group recently helped with the sale of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves.
Chelsea is in third in the English Premier League table, trailing only Manchester City and Liverpool.
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