Roman Abramovich has denied wanting his £1.5billion loan from Chelsea repaid and has pledged to donate the proceeds from the sale of the club to charity.
The club was put up for sale by Abramovich in March just before he was sanctioned by the British government for his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich said he would not seek repayment of his Chelsea loans and that the proceeds from the sale of the club would go to a charitable foundation for “all the victims of the war in Ukraine”.
After reports the oligarch was looking to recoup the money he loaned the club, the 55-year-old reiterated his pledge to donate the money from the sale to charity.
In a statement released by Abramovich and Chelsea on Thursday evening, a spokesperson for the Russian said: “Firstly, Mr Abramovich’s intentions regarding donating the proceeds from the sale of Chelsea to charity have not changed.
“Since the initial announcement, Mr. Abramovich’s team has identified senior representatives from United Nations agencies and major global charities who have been tasked with establishing a foundation and establishing a plan for its activities. he lead independent expert had conversations with government officials outlining the initial structure and plans.
“Mr. Abramovich was not involved in this work and it was managed independently by experts with years of experience in humanitarian organizations.
“Secondly, Mr. Abramovich did not request repayment of any loan – such suggestions are entirely false – as are suggestions that Mr. Abramovich raised the price of the Club at the last minute. As part of the Mr Abramovich’s aim to find a good custodian for Chelsea FC, he however encouraged every bidder throughout this process to commit to investing in the Club – including the Academy, women’s team, redevelopment necessary for the stadium as well as maintaining the work of the Chelsea Foundation.”
The consortium led by American businessman Todd Boehly is the preferred bidder to buy Chelsea, but the British government will not allow the sale unless it is absolutely certain that Abramovich will not receive any proceeds.
The sale is being led by the Raine Group, an investment bank appointed by Abramovich, and he will have the final say on who buys the club.
Chelsea’s government license to operate expires on May 31 and they face the prospect of bankruptcy unless the club is sold or the license is extended.
The Premier League meets on June 8 to constitute the new season, by which time Chelsea should have a license to be part of the next campaign.
The spokesman added in the statement: “Following the sanctions and other restrictions imposed on Mr Abramovich by the United Kingdom since the announcement of the sale of the Club, the loan has also been subject to sanctions from the EU, requiring additional approvals. This means that the funds will be frozen and subject to a legal procedure governed by the authorities. These funds are always intended for the Foundation. The government is aware of these restrictions as well as the legal implications.
“To be clear, Mr. Abramovich has no access to or control over these funds and will have no access to or control over these funds after the sale. Despite the changed 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.”
Analysis: Chelsea fans can be relieved
Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:
“Roman Abramovich doesn’t speak publicly very often and when he does it’s normally important. It’s an important statement from his spokesperson.
“During the sale process over the past two weeks, it was suggested that he did indeed want that money back due to tax complications and the fact that he was being sanctioned.
“It’s a really complicated situation, but he tried to set the record straight tonight. And he basically says in this statement: nothing has changed. He doesn’t want his money back, he’s walking away from it. stands by his original position that the money left after the club was sold.
“He talked about what will happen to the money. He said earlier that it will go to the victims of the war in Ukraine. In this statement, he said his team had worked hard to create a foundation and people The UN is involved and has also held talks with the British government about what happened.
“The message he’s just trying to get across is don’t believe everything you hear or read. I don’t think we can ignore what we and other people have reported. The information we have come from people very close to the sales process. Our information is always true. I’m not accusing Mr. Abramovich of not telling the truth. That’s how he sees it, but it’s a complicated process, different people say different things.
“I think that will calm some nerves as far as Chelsea fans are concerned. He also touches on another key point. There have been many reports suggesting the goalposts have changed – that Abramovich had asked for an extra £500m to be put in Mr. Abramovich’s spokesman says he is not asking for extra money, but he goes on to say that he wants to ensure that the people who buy the club commit funds to develop the club in the future – to invest in the men’s team, the women’s team, the stadium as well.
“Again, I don’t think what we and other people were reporting was wrong. It’s just different interpretations. Mr. Abramovich explains the reason behind it. [extra money being asked for] it’s because he wanted to make sure Chelsea’s future was secure and that the club’s buyers had enough money to look after the club.”