March 2 PM update: Abramovich announced his plans to sell on the Chelsea website:
I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC. 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.
March 2 update: Abramovich has decided to sell his Chelsea football club, per the New York Times. He is reportedly seeking at least $2.5 billion and has set a Friday deadline “for interested parties to submit ‘indicative offers.’” Early contenders include Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss and part Los Angeles Dodgers owner Todd Boehly.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has stepped down from his position, per a statement released by the club. Abramovich rose to riches following the fall of the Soviet Union through Russia’s loans-for-shares privatization program and his close ties to Vladimir Putin have come under fire in recent days. With Abramovich gone, the Chelsea Charitable Foundation will oversee stewardship for the club.
As Putin went ahead with an invasion of Ukraine using vast military resources in what has been seen as an effort to join the countries as part of a re-creation of the former Soviet Union, prominent sports figures have stepped up to condemn the leader. Abramovich’s relative silence might’ve been seen as a problem, especially with Chelsea’s players readily demonstrating their support for Ukraine. It made sense for Abramovich to either step aside or stand with Ukraine. His ties with Putin made the latter highly unlikely.
As for Chelsea, the Blues sit in third in the Premier League and are in the Round of 16 in the Champions League.