Roman Abramovich has confirmed he will sell Chelsea after 19 years of ownership.
The Russian billionaire has come under increasing pressure this week due to his alleged ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich is said to have set an asking price of £2.6 billion ($3.5bn) and has asked that all interested parties make a bid by Friday.
What has been said?
A statement on the club’s website on Wednesday 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.”
Why is Abramovich selling Chelsea?
Abramovich is reported to be looking to offload the club amid fear he could be sanctioned by the UK government over his ties with Putin.
Those with close ties to Putin face being targeted by governments following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week.
Abramovich has denied he is associated with the president and denies doing anything wrong, but GOAL has been told he is preparing a total exit from the UK economy.
Labour MP Chris Bryant says that Abramovich is selling because he is “terrified” of facing sanctions from the British government.
Who could buy Chelsea?
Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly is behind a consortium with Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss that could purchase the club.
Wyss said on Tuesday that he had been offered the chance to buy Chelsea, but said it would be too expensive for him to take over alone.
There are said to be other parties interested, with former UFC star Conor McGregor saying he wants to “explore” buying the club.