Russian Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea FC, has handed over the “stewardship and care” of Chelsea to the trustees of its charitable foundation.
This was announced in a statement posted on the website of the European champions on Saturday.
The six new rulers of the Stamford Bridge club are chairman Bruce Buck, Blues’ women’s boss Emma Hayes, head of the National Lottery Sir Hugh Robertson and Piara Powar.
Lawyer John Devine and Paul Ramos, director of finance, make up the six new trustees.
In the statement, Abramovich said: “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. 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.”
The decision has been attributed to the controversy around his relationship with the president of his country, Vladimir Putin.
Some days ago, reports said Abramovich had been barred from living in the United Kingdom due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
The UK government claimed that Abramovich was named by Members of Parliament on Tuesday as being one of 35 oligarchs identified by the Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, as one of the ‘key enablers’ of the ‘kleptocracy’ run by Putin.
However, the Russian billionaire has vehemently denied his closeness to the Kremlin or doing anything that would merit sanctions being imposed against him – as Britain looked to impose sanctions on Russia amid rising tensions with Ukraine.
Immigration officials were reportedly under instructions to make it impossible for Abramovich – who owns a £125m mansion near Kensington Palace – to base himself in the UK.