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Chelsea FC Statement Insists Roman Abramovich Has Not Asked For Loan To Be Repaid

Chelsea Football Club published a statement on behalf of owner Roman Abramovich on Thursday.

Abramovich, Chelsea's owner since 2003, put the club up for sale on March 2.

When he announced his intention to sell, Abramovich claimed that he would "not be asking for any loans to be repaid."

He also vowed to pass on "all net proceeds" from the sale to a new charitable foundation to help "all victims of the war in Ukraine".

Abramovich was then sanctioned by the UK government on March 10 in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

It was alleged that Abramovich had been an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin, though the sanctioned Chelsea owner denied this and has since attempted to assist in peace talks between the warring nations.

One of the conditions of the government sanctions was that Abramovich could not collect any money from the sale of any UK asset, including Chelsea FC.

That appeared to complicate the process of finding Chelsea a new owner.

Roman Abramovich pictured smiling at a match between Chelsea and Sunderland in 2017

Roman Abramovich pictured at a match between Chelsea and Sunderland in 2017

It had been reported in recent days that Abramovich was reneging on his promises by demanding that his £1.6billion loan to the club must be repaid.

But such reports are false, according to a spokesperson for Abramovich.

They said in a statement on "Firstly, Mr Abramovich’s intentions in relation to gifting the proceeds from the Chelsea sale to charity have not changed.

"Since the initial announcement, Mr Abramovich's team has identified senior representatives from UN bodies and large global charitable organizations who have been tasked with forming a Foundation and setting out a plan for its activities. The lead independent expert has had conversations with Government representatives presenting the structure and initial plans.

"Mr Abramovich has not been involved in this work and it has been managed independently by experts with years of experience working in humanitarian organizations.

"Secondly, Mr Abramovich has not asked for any loan to be repaid to him – such suggestions are entirely false – as are suggestions that Mr Abramovich increased the price of the Club last minute. As part of Mr Abramovich's objective to find a good custodian for Chelsea FC, he has however encouraged each bidder throughout this process to commit investing in the Club – including in the Academy, Women’s team, necessary redevelopment of the stadium as well as maintaining the work of Chelsea Foundation.

"Following sanctions and other restrictions imposed on Mr Abramovich by the UK since announcing that the Club would be sold, the loan has also become subject to EU sanctions, requiring additional approvals. That means that the funds will be frozen and subject to a legal procedure governed by authorities. These funds are still earmarked for the Foundation. The Government are aware of these restrictions as well as the legal implications.

"To be clear, Mr Abramovich has no access or control of these funds and will not have any access or control of these funds following the sale. Despite the changing circumstances since his initial announcement – he remains committed to finding a good custodian for Chelsea FC and making sure the proceeds go to good causes."

When Abramovich was sanctioned by the government, Chelsea were granted a conditional license to allow them to continue operating.

One of those conditions affects the sale of match tickets. Chelsea are currently not allowed to sell tickets to home fans for Premier League games, meaning only season-ticket holders and away supporters can attend matches at Stamford Bridge.

As result, Chelsea's stadium will only be around three quarters full when Wolves visit on Saturday.