Chelsea face uncertain future after years of Abramovich-backed glory

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Just a few weeks on, the future for Abramovich and the London club he has owned since 2003 is unclear as Russia wages war on Ukraine.

Abramovich’s attempt to take some heat off the European champions by handing “stewardship and care” of the club to trustees of the Chelsea Foundation has been met with cynicism and confusion.

The 55-year-old, whose fortune is worth $13.6 billion according to the latest data from Forbes magazine, remains the owner and reportedly has no intention yet to sell his stake.

Tuchel meanwhile confirmed after Sunday’s League Cup final defeat by Liverpool that the day-to-day running of the club would not be affected with director Marina Granovskaia and technical and performance advisor Petr Cech still in position.

‘The Telegraph’ and ‘BBC’ reported some unease among the Chelsea Foundation trustees at the legal implications and reputational damage they could suffer by taking on the role.

Abramovich has not been named on a growing British sanctions list targeting Russian banks, businesses and pro-Kremlin billionaires.

But British Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran used parliamentary privilege last week to name Abramovich as one of 35 “key enablers” to President Vladimir Putin who should be sanctioned personally by the UK.

Should such reprisals be forthcoming, it remains unclear where Chelsea would stand.

“In a legal context stewardship means no more than the job of supervising or taking care of something, in other words the job of ‘caretaker’,” said sports lawyer Stephen Taylor Heath.

“Should the government decree that Abramovich should not be in control of the club, the Premier League would immediately have to analyse whether ownership of the club has in fact been transferred to the trust.”

The latest accounts from Chelsea’s parent company Fordstam Ltd showed the soft loans from Abramovich to the club have now exceeded £1.5 billion.

Chelsea have profited from two decades of unprecedented success as a result.

The Blues had one league title in their history prior to a takeover that started the wave of major foreign investment in English football and helped hyperinflate the cost of transfer fees and wages.

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