London, Feb 26 (EFE).- Roman Abramovich, the billionaire Russian owner of Chelsea Football Club, said Saturday that he is stepping away from management of the enterprise in favor of the trustees of the team’s charitable foundation.
“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,” he said in a statement.
“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,” he concluded.
Abramovich, 55, remains the owner of the Premier League team, which has become a powerhouse thanks to the more than £1 billion ($1.34 billion) he has invested since 2003.
The owner has no plans to seek repayment of the loans he has made to the club over the years Chelsea has won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, two Champions League trophies, and one Club World Cup crown.
British media outlets suggested that Abramovich made the move to shield Chelsea amid the outcry in the United Kingdom over the Russian attack on Ukraine.
Politicians have called for Abramovich – who denies claims that he is close to the Kremlin – to be subject to the same sanctions already imposed on three other Russian moguls and some say he should not be allowed to own a team in the UK.
No longer able to obtain a UK visa, Abramovich is thought to spend most of his time in Israel, one of the three countries where he holds citizenship. EFE