Roman Abramovich has passed the stewardship of Chelsea to the trustees of the club’s charitable foundation. The Russian, who bought the club in 2003, remains the owner but has relinquished the running of Chelsea after a call in parliament for him to be sanctioned amid the invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich, provided he is not sanctioned, can continue to fund the club but the focus on him has provoked this move on the eve Chelsea Carabao Cup final against Liverpool. Abramovich has vehemently disputed reports suggesting his alleged closeness to Vladimir Putin and Russia or that he has done anything to merit sanctions being imposed against him.
The charitable foundation is headed by Bruce Buck, the club’s chairman. The other trustees are Emma Hayes, the Chelsea Women’s manager, Piara Powar, Paul Ramos, John Devine and Hugh Robertson, the chairman of the British Olympic Association and a former sports minister.
Football decisions, including transfers, contracts and the future of the manager, Thomas Tuchel, will be the responsibility of the director Marina Granovskaia and the technical and performance director, Petr Cech. They are already heavily influential in running the club and in practical terms little will change for now on a day-to-day basis. It is not known what the impact on Chelsea would be were Abramovich to be sanctioned.
“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,” Abramovich said in a statement.
“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.”
Under his ownership, Chelsea has won five Premier League titles and FA Cups, in addition to the Champions League on two occasions.