Why Abramovich Is leaving Chelsea FC in Two Billion Dollar Debt


Chelsea FC is the latest casualty of the Russian Ukraine Conflict.

Russian oligarchs are currently being punished for President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, a wild turn of events that has placed Roman Abramovich owned Chelsea FC in the middle of a global crisis.

Putin and Abramovich. Culled from The Guardian

As assets of Russian elites are currently being frozen globally, Roman Abramovich has declared his intentions to sell Chelsea Fc, the club he purchased for around $190 million in 2003, and built into a world-class team, winning several domestic, continental and global silverware.

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Nearly two decades after purchasing the European champions, Chelsea FC was valued by Forbes at $3.2 billion in 2021. However, in spite of its status as a top owner in Europe, the London club owes its Russian billionaire owner, a staggering sum of $2 billion.

Economists posit that the debt owed to him by Chelsea FC could be used as a shield in the event that his assets are frozen and he is strapped for money. They further opine that in the event of the need for liquidity Abramovich may recall his loan.

To allay fears of financial pundits, in his statement Abramovich leaned towards forgiving the debt owed to him.

His 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.

Abramovich added that he would donate net proceeds to victims of the war in Ukraine, in what many speculate as a strategic PR move insulate him from the UK government seizing profits from the sale of the club.

While Abramovich’s willingness to forgive that debt seems charitable, it is a smart move to fast-track the sale of the club and not burden potential bidders would be enormous for the club and the next owner.

By winning the Club World Cup, Chelsea Fc won every possible trophy under Abramovich, but now they have to lose their owner.

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