In a statement released on Chelsea FC’s website, owner Roman Abramovich has said he will be relinquishing stewardship of the club.

The statement reads: “During my nearly 20-year ownership of Chelsea FC, I have always viewed my role as a custodian of the Club, whose job it is ensuring that we are as successful as we can be today, as well as build for the future, while also playing a positive role in our communities.

“I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. I remain committed to these values.

“That is why I am today giving trustees of Chelsea’s charitable Foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea FC.

“I believe that currently they are in the best position to look after the interests of the Club, players, staff, and fans.”


The statement comes after Labour former minister Chris Bryant said the Russian-Israeli billionaire should no longer be able to own Chelsea Football Club.

Speaking in the house of commons on Thursday he said: “I have got hold of a leaked document from 2019 from the Home Office which says in relation to Mr Abramovich – ‘As part of HMG’s Russia strategy aimed at targeting illicit finance and malign activity, Abramovich remains of interest to HMG due to his links to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices’.

“‘An example of this is Abramovich admitting in court proceedings that he paid for political influence.

“Therefore HMG is focused on ensuring individuals linked to illicit finance and malign activity are unable to base themselves in the UK and will use the relevant tools at its disposal, including immigration powers to prevent this’.

“That is nearly three years ago and yet remarkably little has been done in relation.

“Surely Mr Abramovich should no longer be able to own a football club in this country?

“Surely we should be looking at seizing some of his assets including his £152 million home?

“And making sure that other people who have had Tier 1 Visas like this are not engaged in malign activity?”

Commons Leader Mark Spencer replied: “He will know under the sanctions passed in the House this week there is the opportunity for the Government to take very strong action against high-profile Russian individuals who are of concern.

“He will be aware that the Home Secretary will be at this despatch box next Monday for Home Office questions and I am sure he will be able to challenge her directly.”

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a correction after he wrongly claimed that Mr Abramovich was the subject of targeted sanctions by the UK Government.

The Prime Minister tabled a written ministerial statement in the House of Commons to clarify such measures had not been imposed on the businessman.

On Tuesday, Mr Johnson told MPs that Mr Abramovich was “already facing sanctions”, a claim disputed by Mr Bryant, among others.

Mr Johnson said on Wednesday: “Roman Abramovich has not been the subject of targeted measures.

“More generally anyone who comes to this country on an Israeli passport is a non-visa national.

“Israelis are required to obtain a visa if they want to live, work or study in the UK.”

Mr Abramovich’s spokesperson has been approached for comment.