Chelsea has described the latest round of conflicts between Russia and Ukraine as “horrific and devasting, ” days after Vladimir Putin declared a military action against Volodymyr Zelensky’s country.
“The situation in Ukraine is horrific and devastating. Chelsea FC’s thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine. Everyone at the club is praying for peace,” the club said in a statement on Sunday.
Before now, owner Roman Abramovich had handed over the affairs of the club to trustees of Chelsea’s charitable Foundation.
This comes amid UK sanctions against Russian entities after the invasion of Ukraine. Mr Abramovich is a Russian oligarch, one of the groups targeted by western sanctions.
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There had been uncertainty over Mr Abramovich’s continued control of one of the UK’s most successful clubs amid the crisis.
“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,” Mr Abramovich said in a statement on Saturday.
“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.”
‘Nobody Expected This’
Blues manager Thomas Tuchel admitted on Friday that uncertainty over Abramovich’s future as the owner was weighing on his club ahead of Sunday’s League Cup final against Liverpool.
“We should not pretend this is not an issue,” he said. “The situation in general for me and for my staff, the players, is horrible.
“Nobody expected this. It’s pretty unreal, like I said it’s clouding our minds, it’s clouding our excitement towards the final.”