Roman Abramovich has called his 19 years as Chelsea owner the “honor of a lifetime” and is confident the club is being left in the right hands with the Todd Boehly-led consortium set to complete their takeover of the Blues on Monday.
Abramovich brought Chelsea in the summer of 2003 and transformed the club from a cash-strapped, Premier League top-four hopeful to a European juggernaut. Top-flight titles were won, domestic trophies were lifted, and two Champions Leagues were claimed during Russian’s ownership.
Yet it was not just the men’s side that enjoyed success. Abramovich hired Emma Hayes and ensured she had the investment required to turn the women’s team into the dominant force in English football. And the club’s academy – based at the Cobham training center that was built under Abramovich’s watch – has proved itself one of the world’s best.
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Abramovich had previously fielded offers to buy Chelsea – one of which was from Boehly in 2019 – but had never come close to selling the club. But Russia invasion of Ukraine in February started a domino effect that led to the 55-year-old putting the Blues up for sale on March 2.
Eight days later, Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government, which issued Chelsea a special license to continue operating day-to-day. That was due to expire on May 31 – and so began a race against time for the takeover of Chelsea to be completed.
The sale of the club was handled by the US merchant bank The Raine Group, which whittled down a number of potential bidders to a four-consortium strong shortlist. The Boehly bid was then taken forward and in a statement released by Chelsea this morning, it was confirmed a “final and definitive agreement” had been reached for the purchase of the club.
Chelsea is officially expected to change hands on Monday and that will bring the Abramovich era at Stamford Bridge to an end. And the Russian has released his final statement as the owner of the club in which he thanks past and current players, staff, and the Blues supporters.
The statement released by Abramovich on the Chelsea website read: “It has been nearly three months since I announced my intention to sell Chelsea FC. During this time, the team have worked hard to find the right custodian for Chelsea FC that would be best positioned to successfully lead the Club into its next chapter.
“The ownership of this Club comes with great responsibility. Since I came to Chelsea almost twenty years ago, I have witnessed first-hand what this Club can achieve. My goal has been to ensure that the next owner has a mindset that will enable success for the Men’s and Women’s team, as well as the will and drive to continue developing other key aspects of the Club, such as the Academy and the vital work of Chelsea Foundation. I am pleased this search has now come to a successful conclusion.
“As I hand over Chelsea to its new custodians, I would like to wish them the best of success, both on and off the pitch. It has been an honor of a lifetime to be a part of this Club – I would like to thank all the Club’s past and current players, staff, and of course fans for these incredible years.
“I am proud that as a result of our joint successes, millions of people will now benefit from the new charitable foundation which is being established. This is the legacy which we have created together.
“Thank you. Roman.”