Roman Abramovich has confirmed his plans to sell Chelsea amid widespread criticism over his ties with Vladimir Putin.

In an official statement, Roman Abramovich has announced his decision to sell Chelsea Football Club. He is set to relinquish his ownership of the club and has opted to cancel the loans the club owes him, citing it was “never about business or money”.

Abramovich’s move to sell Chelsea comes just a few days after announcing his decision to step away from the club momentarily amid widespread criticism over his ties with Vladimir Putin. There were also reports of him holding shares of a steel company that is used to build the Russian tanks, which are currently invading Ukraine.

Last week, a UK MP also urged the government to seize Abramovich’s personal assets, including his ownership of Chelsea Football Club. It was shortly followed by the EU’s sanction of another Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov. Amid fears over having his own assets seized, Abramovich had reportedly opted to sell his mansion in London and has now decided to sell the football club.

“I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the Club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners,” read the official statement from Abramovich.

The Russian oligarch was reportedly owed around £1.5 billion in debt. But in the statement, he has confirmed he “will not be asking for any loans to be repaid”. Abramovich, though, has stated that the club’s sale will not be fast-tracked and will follow due process, though that is unlikely to be the case.

The news of Chelsea FC’s availability has quite predictably spread like wildfire, with American investor Todd Boehly reportedly building a partnership with Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss to buy the west London outfit. Raine Group, a New York-based merchant bank, is handling the sale for Abramovich.

Even two-time UFC World Champion Conor McGregor has posted a tweet expressing interest to buy Chelsea Football Club, who have apparently set a Friday deadline, as Abramovich looks to quickly put an end to his ownership amid fears of facing sanctions by the UK government.

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