he world of sport has been shaken by the outbreak of war in Ukraine after Russia launched its invasion last Thursday. It has proved especially significant for everyone connected to Chelsea, because we are owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
The club is always in the limelight for one reason or another, but this past week has proved to be a challenge unlike any before.
Abramovich handing over the “stewardship and care” of Chelsea to trustees of the club’s charitable foundation was shocking but seemed sensible. With the possibility of sanctions looming, there was little choice for the Blues owner but to act swiftly.
But it begs the questions: what this means for the future of the club and whether we are seeing the beginning of the end of the Abramovich era which has brought 21 trophies in 19 years?
While there is much uncertainty surrounding the current political situation, one thing is clear: Chelsea fans support Ukraine and oppose the war. That is not debatable, it is a clear consensus across all levels of the club.
You must only look as far as the Carabao Cup Final, where the blue end of Wembley joined together before kick-off in applause and solidarity with everyone for the Ukrainian cause. None of us wants war, nor do any of us condone it.
When it comes to Abramovich, it becomes tricky, due to his status inside and outside of the game. We respect him and appreciate everything he has done for us, heralding the most successful period in the club’s history and creating a new footballing Goliath in the heart of London. But that does not equate to support of his country’s cause, nor does it mean we accept nor tolerate what is happening in Ukraine.
It is hurtful to see many dismiss Chelsea’s stance on the conflict and make false accusations regarding the fanbase, when in fact we stand in solidarity with Ukraine, just as everyone else in football and sport does. Club colours do not matter when it comes to war.
With Abramovich claiming to relinquish day-to-day stewardship of the club, many fans may be concerned of what is to come, but they should not be. There was a Chelsea before Abramovich, and there will be a Chelsea after Abramovich.
Despite rival fans taunting ‘You ain’t got no history’, Chelsea has a rich history which long precedes 2003. We have not had a full decade in the post-war period without collecting silverware, and we can now officially boast that we’ve won it all after the Club World Cup triumph.
Chelsea has written numerous chapters of history already, and whatever happens with Abramovich’s ownership, we will continue to write many more.
The only current concerns are for the people of Ukraine, not whether the club will be in jeopardy.
It goes without saying that we want the club to be protected and not to be brought into matters out of our control. Protecting the image and reputation of the club is just one of many important factors of this situation, while demonstrating our full support for Ukraine.