Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has confirmed he is selling the club.
The Russian also revealed that he was setting up a foundation from which all net profits would be donated to the victims of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich, owner of the west London club since 2003, also revealed he would not seek any loans owed to him, which would be stands at £1.5 billionto be paid.
Questions have been asked about the billionaire in parliament as the UK government continues to target Russian money with sanctions, although Abramovich denies links to Vladimir Putin and has not yet been punished.
Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and US investor Todd Boehly are said to be two of the parties joining forces and preparing a bid for the Blues.
Abramovich said in a statement: “I would like to address the speculation in the media over the past few days regarding my ownership of Chelsea FC.
“As I said before, I have always taken decisions in the interest of the club. In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the club, because I think it is in the best interest of the club, fans, employees, as well as club sponsors and partners.
“The sale of the club will not be expedited but will follow due process. I will not ask for any loan repayment. It was never about business or money for me, but pure passion for the game and the club.
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“Additionally, I have instructed my team to establish a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will benefit all victims of war in Ukraine. This includes providing essential funds for the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as support for long-term recovery work.
“Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it hurts me to part ways with the club in this way. However, I believe it is in the interest of the club.
“I hope I can visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to you in person. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I are proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart.
“Thank you, Roman.”
Abramovich’s purchase of Chelsea was a game-changer in English football, as his masses of wealth brought new levels of money into the game.
It also brought Chelsea to the top on the pitch. The Blues have won five Premier League titles, seven FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions Leagues under Abramovich’s ownership.
They entered the FA Cup pitch at Luton moments after the news broke and overcame a scare in a 3-2 win.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was asked after the match about his reaction to the news of Abramovich, and he told BBC One: “Maybe I heard it a bit earlier than you, but it was still very, very close to kick-off.
“We’ve been hearing the rumors all day, and it’s on TV, and of course when we have team meetings and we eat together, the guys talk about it, everyone talks about it. This is great news, let’s wait and see, hope for the best and see what the day holds.
When asked if he felt it was the right decision for the club at the moment, Tuchel said: “I think every decision he takes is the right decision. It’s his choice, it’s his choice. is his club and it is not for me to comment.
Tuchel added: “Although I want to answer, I don’t know exactly (what the situation will mean for the club in the short term). In the very short term, I think for us as a team, staff and players, I hope not too much, it may not even change anything.
“But the situation is now there, it’s a big situation and I can understand, there will be a lot of reports. But then we try to do what we try to do to cancel the noise and stay focused, which doesn’t is not always easy but we showed again today that we can do it, and we will try again on Saturday.
“We don’t live on an island – the guys have internet connections in the hotel and the TV is working so we see the news and we see the rumors and that’s normal, some aren’t that attached to it, some are perhaps more concerned. This is normal.
“To play the same day in a match where concentration is absolutely essential to win is not that easy, and that makes for a bigger performance, and that’s why I’m very happy.”
Reacting to the news, former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino told talkSPORT: “The speed at which this has developed is unbelievable.
“We hear him selling his properties in London and now the club. He has been an incredible owner in so many ways.
“Everyone was speculating on how he got his money. I remember when he first came to England he read many reports saying he would be gone in two or three years and leaving Chelsea in the mud. It’s so far from the truth with what he did at this football club.
“He bankrolled the club to succeed and always aimed to be a winner.
“You ask any Chelsea fan, Abramovich’s time at this football club has been extraordinary.”