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Roman Abramovich’s £4.25bn pledge revealed one year on after Chelsea was listed for sale



(Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

On this day last year in 2022, Roman Abramovich confirmed Chelsea Football Club was up for sale. A day that would change the club’s future.

At 6.14pm (UK) on March 2nd 2022, Chelsea announced Abramovich’s reluctant move to list the club, a decision which was taken out of his hands after he was sanctioned by the UK Government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A statement read: “I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC. As I have stated before, 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.

“The sale of the Club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process. I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid. This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and Club.

“Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.

“Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the Club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the Club.

“I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person. It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart. Thank you, Roman.”

Abramovich didn’t personally profit from the sale of Chelsea, which was finalised and completed on May 30 after a rigorous bidding process, led by investment bank Raine Group.

As part of the bidding process, Abramovich wanted £1.75 billion to be pledged to investing into the club over the next 10 years, including all the teams and the stadium.

The Todd BoehlyClearlake Capital ownership group won the race and have continued the spending spree since their arrival in west London, spending over £600 million across two transfer windows, while beginning work on their plans for the club’s new stadium.

READ MORE: Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge plans as most likely outcome revealed as Boehly-Clearlake outline options

Unsuccessful bidder Sir Martin Broughton, who led a consortium which included Crystal Palace investors Josh Harris and Dave Blitzer, has explained why Abramovich’s intervention hinted at him being reluctant to leave, and if he was to do so then it would be on his terms to protect the club.

Speaking at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, as quoted by the Evening Standard, Broughton said: “The strange thing was this was a reluctant seller who was not receiving any of the money, so normally price would be the ultimate dictator. It was not the ultimate dictator here.

“We were very much led by Raine, Bruce (Buck) and Marina (Granovskaia) to bid an amount. Agree to put an amount over the next 10 years in this piece, be it the academy, you’ve got to agree to invest this much into the women’s team.

“It was very focused. In fact, it was Roman trying to say to the fans, ‘I don’t want to leave’, but if I have to, whoever takes over will do what I would have done.”