Chelsea owner Abramovich hands club management to administrators under pressure from Ukraine

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Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich walks past the High Court in London November 16, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

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Feb 26 (Reuters) – Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has handed London foundation trustees the management of the Premier League club, the Russian billionaire said on Saturday, amid calls in Britain for him to be punished for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich, who bought the London club in 2003, said the foundation was “in the best position to defend the interests” of the club.

“I have always considered my role as the club’s caretaker, whose job is to make sure we achieve as much as possible today, as well as build for the future, while playing a positive role in our communities.” , did he declare. said in a statement.

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“I have always taken decisions in the interest of the club. I remain attached to these values.”

Abramovich remains the owner of the club and the statement did not reveal why he was handing over stewardship of the foundation or any details on how the arrangement would work.

Several Russian individuals and entities have been subjected to sanctions by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson after Moscow this week launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea. Read more

Abramovich did not face any sanctions, but some British opposition lawmakers said on Thursday he should be included. One of them, Chris Bryant, said the UK should seize his assets and ban him from owning the football club.

Abramovich, whose wealth comes in part from mining in Russia, did not refer to the situation in Ukraine or the issue of sanctions in his statement on Saturday.

The chairman of Chelsea’s foundation trustees is US lawyer Bruce Buck, who is also chairman of the club as a whole.

Trustees of the foundation include women’s team manager Emma Hayes and club finance director Paul Ramos.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said on Friday that uncertainty over Abramovich’s future hung over the club ahead of Sunday’s League Cup final.

Chelsea enjoyed unprecedented success after Abramovich took over, winning five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League twice.

The Russian poured money into Chelsea which allowed him to sign key players and break the dominance of Manchester United and Arsenal in the mid-2000s.

A study published by independent Swiss-based research group CIES Football Observatory found that Chelsea spent 1.628 billion euros ($1.83 billion) on transfer fees in the past decade alone, second only to Manchester City. .

Abramovich, however, was not known for his patience and the club have appointed over a dozen different managers since he took charge. Some, like Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink, served two separate terms, with the latter being appointed on an interim basis.

($1 = 0.8875 euros)

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Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru and Simon Evans; Editing by Alison Williams and Frank Jack Daniel

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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