Roman Abramovich’s future as Chelsea owner is in doubt after a Swiss billionaire claimed he has been offered the chance to buy the club.
Hansjorg Wyss told Swiss newspaper Blick that Abramovich “wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly” after the threat of sanctions was raised in Parliament.
Abramovich gave “stewardship and care” of Chelsea to its foundation trustees following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Chelsea have chosen not to respond to the claims of 86-year-old Wyss.
“You have to stop asking me these questions, I have no answers for you!”
Thomas Tuchel ran out of patience with reporters’ questions about Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/QRqFJoWeQM
— GOAL (@goal) March 2, 2022
The west London club have always previously denied reports that they are up for sale.
Abramovich, 55, is alleged to have strong ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, which he has denied. Other Russian billionaires have already been the subject of European Union sanctions where their assets have been frozen.
That has included Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who has commercial links to Everton.
The United Kingdom government is yet to sanction Abramovich or Usmanov, but Labour MP Chris Bryant said in Parliament on Tuesday that Abramovich was “terrified of being sanctioned which is why he is going to sell his home tomorrow [Wednesday], and another flat as well”.
On Wednesday, during Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour leader Keir Starmer asked why Abramovich was not facing sanctions, with Boris Johnson replying it was “not appropriate to comment on any individual cases at this stage”.
Wyss also said: “Abramovich is trying to sell all of his villas in England, he also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly.
“I and three other people received an offer on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich.”
A spokesperson for Abramovich declined to comment on those claims.
Should Abramovich decide to sell Chelsea, it would be a seismic moment for the club and English football.
Having bought the Blues in 2003 for £140m, Chelsea have been transformed under the Russian’s reign, and in many ways it has set the template for how much finance was needed to compete at the top end of the Premier League.
In total, Abramovich has loaned the club more than £1.5bn which has brought great success.
Under his ownership, the club have won the Champions League twice, both the Premier League and FA Cup five times, the Europa League twice and the League Cup three times.
In August 2021, they won the UEFA Super Cup and they recently won their first Club World Cup, meaning the Blues have won every trophy possible since Abramovich took over at the club.
Turbulent week for Chelsea
24 February: Russian President Vladimir Putin launches a military invasion of Ukraine.
25 February: Labour’s Chris Bryant tells MPs the UK Government should remove Roman Abramovich’s ownership of the club and seize his assets, citing concerns about alleged links to corruption.
26 February: Abramovich announces he is handing “stewardship and care” of Chelsea to its charitable foundation.
27 February: Foundation members express concern over whether Charity Commission rules would allow them to run the club. Chelsea beaten 11-10 on penalties by Liverpool in League Cup final at Wembley after game ended 0-0.
28 February: Abramovich asked by Ukraine to help support their attempts to reach a “peaceful resolution” with Russia.
1 March: The Charity Commission says it is “seeking information” from Chelsea after the club was placed under the control of its charitable foundation.
2 March: Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss claims he has been offered the chance to buy Chelsea from Abramovich.