helsea have released an official club statement “praying for peace” amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Premier League club remains under the ownership of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who handed over his “stewardship” of the Blues on Saturday night.
Just 12 hours after Abramovich’s decision, Chelsea made clear their desire for “peace” in Ukraine – but stopped short of mentioning Russia or Vladimir Putin in their statement.
It read: “The situation in Ukraine is horrific and devastating. Chelsea FC’s thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine. Everyone at the club is praying for peace.”
The statement comes on the morning of Chelsea’s game against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley.
Abramovich has long been linked to Russian president Putin, something which he vehemently denies. Labour MP Chris Bryant called into question his ownership of the Blues during the week – naming him in a leaked Home Office report as a person of interest in anti-corruption investigations.
The club is now under the control of Chelsea’s charitable foundation and its six trustees; including chairman Bruce Buck, women’s head coach Emma Hayes, anti-racism campaigner Piara Powar and former Government minister for sport Sir Hugh Robertson.
A statement from Abramovich published by the club read: “During my nearly 20-year ownership of Chelsea FC, I have always viewed my role as a custodian of the club, whose job it is ensuring that we are as successful as we can be today, as well as build for the future, while also playing a positive role in our communities.
“I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart. I remain committed to these values. That is why I am today giving trustees of Chelsea’s charitable Foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea FC.
“I believe that currently they are in the best position to look after the interests of the club, players, staff, and fans.”