By PA Sport Staff
Chelsea are “praying for peace” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine following owner Roman Abramovich’s decision to step aside.
The Russian-Israeli billionaire announced on Saturday he was handing the “stewardship and care” of Chelsea to the club’s foundation trustees, but will remain as owner.
Chelsea, who play Liverpool in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, reacted to the ongoing conflict by releasing a short statement on their website.
Club statement on the conflict in Ukraine.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 27, 2022
It read: “The situation in Ukraine is horrific and devastating. Chelsea FC’s thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine. Everyone at the club is praying for peace.”
Abramovich has taken the decision to protect Chelsea from continued links to the wider situation of Russia’s war with Ukraine, the PA news agency understands.
Chelsea’s senior leadership set-up will not change, it is understood, with chairman Bruce Buck now the west London club’s most senior figure.
“During my nearly 20-year ownership of Chelsea FC, I have always viewed my role as a custodian of the club, whose job it is ensuring that we are as successful as we can be today, as well as build for the future, while also playing a positive role in our communities,” read a statement from Abramovich.
“I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart. I remain committed to these values.
“That is why I am today giving trustees of Chelsea’s charitable foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea FC.
“I believe that currently they are in the best position to look after the interests of the club, players, staff, and fans.”
Abramovich’s step backwards will not have any bearing on any possible UK government sanctions, but was a decision understood to have been taken solely in Chelsea’s interests.