Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich said he will sell the club – with the “net proceeds” going to benefit victims of the war in Ukraine.
The Russian billionaire, who took over in 2003, said money generated from his sale of the club will go to a foundation benefiting “all victims of the war in Ukraine”.
It is not clear if his reference to “all victims” means just Ukrainians, or Russians as well.
But, he said it “includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery”.
‘In the best interests of the club’
In a statement, published by the reigning European and world soccer champions on their website, he said: “I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart.
“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.”
Mr Abramovich said he would not ask for loans he has made to the club – reported to total £1.5bn – to be repaid to him, and said the sale would not be fast-tracked but would “follow due process”.
He said he had told his aides to set up a charitable foundation that would receive all net proceeds from the sale.
Mr Abramovich did not speak publicly about the invasion when it first began last Thursday. Over the weekend he said he wanted to entrust the “care and stewardship” of the club to the trustees of its charitable foundation.
He has put a £3bn price tag on Chelsea as he prepares to end his near-two decade ownership of the club.