In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, billionaire Roman Abramovich handed over control of Chelsea to trustees of its charity on Saturday.
Abramovich, who reportedly has ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin, said that he had always felt his role was as a “custodian of the club” in the English Premier League.
The 55-year-old Abramovich has put $2 billion into the club since purchasing Chelsea in 2003. The Blues are the reigning European club champions.
“I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart,” he said on the Chelsea website. “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.”
According to reports, Abramovich was not selling the club. Agence France-Presse reported that the Russian decided to step back, so the EPL club’s reputation would not suffer.
There have been calls for Abramovich to sell his interest in Chelsea.
U.S. men’s national team standout Christian Pulisic is a member of the Blues, who meet Liverpool in the English League final at Wembley on Sunday.