The Blues are preparing for a change at the top of the tree as the reality of Russias invasion of Ukraine begins to take hold
It is no longer being denied thatRoman Abramovich is preparing to sell Chelsea Football Club after the threat of sanctions forces his hand through his association with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Although Abramovich has yet to be sanctioned by the EU, UK, or United States, and insists that he hasnt done anything wrong, the oligarch is fearing a potential backlash due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Having previously denied the option of selling, the Blues now refuse to comment. As well as on the record comment, severalsources have told GOAL that they believeAbramovich is preparing a total exit from the UK economy.
Chris Bryant MP, the Labour politician who has led the charge against the Blues owner, gave insights into the situation on Tuesday: “Roman Abramovich, well I think he’s terrified of being sanctioned, which is why he’s already going to sell his home tomorrow, and sell another flat as well.
“My anxiety is that we’re taking too long about these things.”
With Abramovichs property up for sale, it was likely his club was too and it was confirmed on March 1 through Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss.
“Abramovich is trying to sell all his villas in England, he also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly,” Wyss told theSwiss newspaper Blick.
“I and three other people received an offer on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich. I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is currently asking far too much. You know, Chelsea owe him £2bn. But Chelsea has no money. As of today, we don’t know the exact selling price.”
The asking price is said to be £2.6 billion ($3.5bn)which is significantly more than the £300m ($400m)that Abramovich originally bought it for.
The price will cover the £1.5bn ($2bn)debt that the Russian has pumped into the west Londoners over the last 19 years.
Swiss businessman Wyss believes that, even with his £4.6bn ($6bn) net worth, Chelsea is too expensive and would look to buy the club as part of a consortium.
“I can well imagine starting at Chelsea with partners,” he said. “But I have to examine the general conditions first. But what I can already say: I’m definitely not doing something like this alone. If I buy Chelsea, then [it will be] with a consortium consisting of six to seven investors.”
INEOS chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe considered buying the Blues in the past and has reportedly been linked with making an offer to buy the club.
However, his brother, Bob, has complained about the stadium, which needs redeveloping to compete with many of their Premier League rivals.
“There was some early exchange but we were a significant way apart on valuations,” Bob Ratcliffe told BBC Five Live.
“The issue with Chelsea is its stadium. We are all getting older and it is a decade of your life to resolve that.”
Prospective new owners also wouldnt be able to own the pitch due to a fan ownership model, called the Chelsea Pitch Owners, retaining control of the turf itself.
Abramovich has owned Chelsea for almost 19 years and has claimed an incredible 21 trophies over his almost two-decade spell.
He was the first of a wave of wealthy individuals to pump their personal wealth into the sport, changing the status quo of domination from the traditional superpowers in the game.
Along with the likes of Manchester City, Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea have been accused of sports washing, which accuses individuals of using sport to clean their reputation in the west.