Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich said on Wednesday that is selling the English Premier League Club.
Abramovich, who has been under fire for having ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, whose military invaded Ukraine last week. Abramovich has valued the EPL side at $4 billion. He has owned the club for 19 years.
According to Sky News, Abramovich has appointed The Raine Group, a New York City merchant bank, to oversee the sale. The organization is hoping for U.S. and Asian buyers. Sky News reported that The Raine Group asked for interested parties to say if they were interested by the middle of this month.
“I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC,” Abramovich said in a statement on the Chelsea website. “As I have stated before, 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.
“The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process. I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid. This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and club. Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.
“Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the club.
“I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person. It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart.”
Chelsea, the UEFA Champions League defending and FIFA Club World Cup champions, is still alive in the competition. The Blues boast several high-profile players, including U.S. men’s international Christian Pulisic.