Billions of pounds from the sale of Chelsea Football Club could soon be “on the start of its journey” to help people in Ukraine, a minister has said.
Foreign Office minister Leo Docherty told the Commons that proceeds from the sale of the club by former owner Roman Abramovich were still frozen in a UK bank account.
But he added that “administrative” work was being done to ensure that the cash went towards supporting people in war-torn Ukraine.
Chelsea were sold after Mr Abramovich was sanctioned as part of the UK’s efforts to target Russian oligarchs and to put pressure on and isolate president Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.
American magnate Todd Boehly bought the London club in May for £4.25 billion, with proceeds from the sale frozen in a UK bank account to allow those funds to be diverted to a new charitable foundation to aid victims of the war in Ukraine.
At Foreign Office questions in the Commons, Labour former minister Chris Bryant said: “Can I just ask a question I have asked him before, so I hope he knows the answer by now, which is about the Abramovich money.
“Chelsea was sold for £3.5 billion many months ago. Has that money yet got to Ukraine? And if not, why not?”
Responding, Mr Docherty said: “It is still frozen in the UK bank account.
“The administrative work is being done and a licence is being applied for, but we hope it is on the start of its journey to Ukraine to help the people where they need help.”
Mr Bryant has previously raised the funds with the Foreign Office, but ministers have until now been unable to say what will happen to the money.