Roman Abramovich denies reports he has asked Chelsea to repay £1.5billion loan

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Roman Abramovich (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)
Roman Abramovich (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)

Roman Abramovich has denied reports that have claimed Chelsea’s takeover has been hit be fears he will ask to be repaid the £1.5billion debt he is owed.

The oligarch had initially claimed that he would write off the debt, when he announced his intention to sell the club following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions imposed on him.

In recent days, there have been Government fears that Abramovich may have a change of heart over that decision, which would potentially throw the takeover process into doubt.

Abramovich has now commented on the situation, insisting he has not asked for any loan to be repaid but that the money will be frozen.

A statement said: “Mr Abramovich has not asked for any loan to be repaid to him – such suggestions are entirely false – as are suggestions that Mr Abramovich increased the price of the Club last minute.

“As part of Mr Abramovich’s objective to find a good custodian for Chelsea FC, he has however encouraged each bidder throughout this process to commit investing in the Club – including in the Academy, Women’s team, necessary redevelopment of the stadium as well as maintaining the work of Chelsea Foundation.

“Following sanctions and other restrictions imposed on Mr Abramovich by the UK since announcing that the Club would be sold, the loan has also become subject to EU sanctions, requiring additional approvals. That means that the funds will be frozen and subject to a legal procedure governed by authorities.

“These funds are still earmarked for the Foundation. The Government are aware of these restrictions as well as the legal implications.

“To be clear, Mr Abramovich has no access or control of these funds and will not have any access or control of these funds following the sale.

“Despite the changing circumstances since his initial announcement – he remains committed to finding a good custodian for Chelsea FC and making sure the proceeds go to good causes.”

Abramovich also insisted that he still intends to give the proceeds from the sale to charity, with “senior representatives from UN bodies” and other charitable organisations involved in setting up a foundation to do so. He suggested that Government representatives are aware of this, with Abramovich himself not involved in the process.

The Chelsea takeover remains close to completion, with Todd Boehly the preferred bidder despite Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s last-ditch attempts to hijack that deal.

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