Busy weekend for Chelsea as owner Roman Abramovich relinquishes control and the Blues lose the League Cup final to Liverpool.
Wembley Stadium’s East Stand quickly emptied. As Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool FC celebrated winning the League Cup (11:10 on penalties) with the fans who had traveled with them, thousands of Chelsea fans rushed underground in their blue jerseys.
Your thoughts on the way home should not only have turned to the lost final, but also to the uncertain future of your Chelsea FC. After the owner of the Russian club, Roman Abramowitsch, announced a partial withdrawal as an indirect consequence of the invasion of Ukraine, it is not clear how the world club champion will continue.
Nothing has changed for Chelsea yet
Thomas Tuchel initially does not expect any effect. “I don’t think anything changes for me on a day-to-day basis,” the Chelsea manager said after Sunday’s game. He is in close contact with sports director Marina Granowskaja and technical advisor Petr Cech. “I take care of the first team, I give my contribution and I do my best to win football games”. On Friday, however, Tuchel admitted that the Russian invasion of Ukraine brought “a lot of uncertainty” to Chelsea. “We shouldn’t pretend this isn’t a problem,” Tuchel said.
In fact, nothing has changed at all. Up to this point. It is true that the 55-year-old Abramovich, in a memorable statement that did not mention the war in Ukraine, announced that he would hand over control of the club to the managers of the Chelsea Charitable Foundation. But first they have to agree. But charities like the Chelsea Foundation have strict rules. The fact that administrators are suddenly supposed to be in charge of the fate of the football club at the same time may conflict with this.
Sanctions demands are getting louder
And even if the trustees of the foundation suddenly make the sporting decisions, Abramovich retains his shares, remains the owner and ultimately has the say in Chelsea. Although he no longer has a British visa, insiders say Abramovich has no interest in parting ways with the London club, which has won every possible domestic and international title during his nearly 20-year reign.
But what if the British government gets serious and imposes sanctions on the Russian oligarch? So far, that has not happened, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson falsely claiming it in Parliament. But the demands in Britain are getting stronger. Labor MP Chris Bryant urged the government to freeze Abramovich’s assets and take Chelsea away from him.
What that would mean for the loans of the equivalent of around €1.8bn, with which Abramovich’s holding company has helped Londoners achieve their many successes, is wide open. However, the example of Chelsea shows very clearly that getting involved with politically controversial owners can cause major problems. The Blues are not alone in this in the Premier League.
And there are other controversial owners.
More recently, the takeover of Newcastle United by a Saudi consortium caused outrage. The traditional club practically belongs to Saudi Arabia. His crown prince and de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, has been accused of serious human rights violations. Strong criticism came from organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which had previously criticized the Manchester City owners for similar reasons. Man City is owned by City Football Group of Abu Dhabi.
Wolverhampton Wanderers has been owned by Chinese holding company Fosun International since 2016. Behind this is also said to be Chinese President Xi Jinping’s desire for China to gain more influence in European football. The Chinese leadership has been criticized for human rights violations such as the persecution of the Uyghur minority and for its drastic censorship.
Meanwhile, it was revealed on Monday that Abramovich could take on an entirely new role with a view to the war in Ukraine. A spokesman for the Russian billionaire told the PA news agency that the Ukrainian side contacted Abramovich to mediate and help find a peaceful solution between Ukraine and Ukraine. Russia get. This will not only be followed with interest in London.
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