Proceeds from sale of Chelsea FC must go to humanitarian causes, government confirms

Roman Abramovich, the club’s former owner, has been sanctioned by the UK government as part of its response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Chelsea FC (Photograph: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Chelsea FC (Photograph: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

The sale of Chelsea Football Club, which was confirmed on Monday, was allowed to go ahead on condition that the proceeds are “used for humanitarian purposes in Ukraine”, the government has said.

The decision paves the way for the creation of a major new charity, which is likely to have more than £2bn to spend.

Mike Penrose, former chief executive of Unicef UK, has been working on the creation of the foundation.

Before the sale of Chelsea FC to an investment group was announced, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport said the Treasury was considering allowing Roman Abramovich to sell the club, even though the Russian oligarch’s assets were frozen as part of government sanctions against people linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

DCMS said: “If the transaction is licensed and takes place, all proceeds from the sale will be held in a bank account in the United Kingdom, which will be frozen in accordance with the Russia regulations.”

It said the Treasury would “issue a licence which ensures that such proceeds are used for exclusively humanitarian purposes in Ukraine”.

Abramovich had previously stated that, after the sale of the club, millions of people would “benefit from the new charitable foundation which is being established”.

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