Sport

Abramovich speaks on £1.6billion loan repayment, issues fresh statement on takeover

Roman Abramovich speaks on £1.6billion loan repayment, issues fresh statement on takeover

In a statement on the club’s acquisition process, Roman Abramovich speaks on wanting a £1.6 billion loan to Chelsea returned.

According to reports, the Blues owner, who is sanctioned by the UK government and unable to benefit from the club’s sale, jeopardized the purchase by breaking his agreement to write off the club’s debt to him.

The Russian, on the other hand, argues that his plans to donate all money from the sale to Ukrainian war victims have not changed.

A spokesperson for Abramovich said in a statement posted on the Chelsea website: “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 organisations 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 organisations.”

Chelsea’s special government license to operate expires on May 31, and their Premier League status might be jeopardized if new ownership is not in place by the Premier League’s shareholder meeting on June 9.

The preferred bidder had been touted as a partnership fronted by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, yet there were allegations that Abramovich had created a delay by raising his £3.5 billion asking price.

Despite ‘changing circumstances’ since his decision to sell, the billionaire regards these claims as ‘absolutely incorrect’ and maintains he remains dedicated to finding responsible new owners for the Blues.

The statement continued: “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.”

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