Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Roman Abramovich, Jewish billionaire with ties to Putin, to sell Chelsea soccer team

(JTA) — Roman Abramovich, the Russian Jewish billionaire under scrutiny over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, announced Wednesday that he is selling the famed Chelsea Football Club he has owned since 2003. 

Last week, Abramovich, 55, had stepped back from the Premier League club following pressure from members of the British parliament and as Western governments seek to punish Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

“I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC,” Abramovich wrote in a statement released by Chelsea about the decision to sell the club. “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.”

In his statement, Abramovich also pledged that “all net proceeds” raised from the sale will go toward aid to “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,” he wrote.

Abramovich is the best known among several Russian Jewish “oligarchs” with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, many of whom have donated heavily to Jewish causes over the years. Several of the oligarchs have already been sanctioned by Western governments, meaning that they are being cut off from the global financial system. Abramovich is seen as a likely next target for sanctions.  

In anticipation of possible sanctions, the head of the Israeli Holocaust museum Yad Vashem sent a letter in early February to U.S. ambassador to Israel Tom Nides urging Abramovich to be spared from penalties. Two days later, Yad Vashem announced an “eight-figure donation” from Abramovich.

Abramovich has reportedly donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Jewish institutions in Israel and across the world. The oil magnate, who is also an Israeli citizen, is worth an estimated $14 billion.

The post Roman Abramovich, Jewish billionaire with ties to Putin, to sell Chelsea soccer team appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.