Chelsea’s trustees are reportedly weighing up the prospect of resigning amid Roman Abramovich’s plans to relinquish the club’s control.
According to a report by Daily Telegraph, Roman Abramovich’s plans of handing over the club’s control to the Blues’ charitable foundation have suffered a setback. That is because the trustees are considering tendering their resignations, while the Charity Commission is set to launch inquiries into the move.
The ripple effects of Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine continue to be felt nearly a week after the Russian president’s decision. Not long after Russia launched their troops into Ukraine, a UK MP urged the government to impose sanctions on Roman Abramovich, asking for his assets, including Chelsea Football Club, to be seized.
The wider European community has urged various organisations to boycott or sanction Russia, with FIFA and UEFA suspending Russian clubs and the national team until further notice. Amid the heat building up on him, Abramovich took a decision that sent shockwaves in the football world.
The Chelsea owner handed over the stewardship of the club to trustees of their charitable foundation. Headed by Bruce Buck, the foundation’s other trustees include John Devine, a partner at the law firm Muckle LLP, club director of finance Paul Ramos, women’s head coach Emma Hayes, the executive director of anti-discrimination group Fare, Piara Powar, and the chairman of the British Olympic Association, Sir Hugh Robertson.
There are fresh doubts over Roman Abramovich's proposal to hand over the running of Chelsea to the clubs charitable foundation. pic.twitter.com/y8vigDlPMx
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) February 28, 2022
But days after the announcement, Abramovich’s plans could be plunged into chaos, with trustees threatening resignation and the Charity Commission launching inquiries into the move. This comes in the wake of widespread reports claiming that the Chelsea owner was in Belarus to help in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.
In particular, two trustees have raised concerns over being compromised, and some members of the foundation believe that the foundation is an “inappropriate vehicle” to run a football club. So the latest development could force Chelsea to reconsider their handover plans.
While foundation chairman Bruce Buck and other department heads will continue overseeing the day-to-day operations of Chelsea, there are concerns that they might not want to be seen or act as a front for Abramovich when there is immense pressure on the Chelsea owner from various quarters.
The official word from Chelsea is that there will be no hard feelings if any of the trustees decline to see through Abramovich’s handover plans. Such a decision will not have spillover effects on their current roles either. These are uncertain times for Chelsea Football Club and Abramovich, and their futures might continue to be on a tightrope for the foreseeable future as the geopolitical tension in Europe escalates.