Regulator in touch with Chelsea FC Foundation over football club control change

It comes after owner Roman Abramovich said he was passing ‘stewardship’ of the football club to the Chelsea FC Foundation

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

The Charity Commission has contacted the Chelsea FC Foundation after Roman Abramovich announced he was passing control of Chelsea Football Club to the charity.

Abramovich, who has owned the club since 2003, said in a statement over the weekend that he was giving “stewardship” of it to the trustees of the Chelsea FC Foundation.

His statement came after Chris Bryant, the Labour MP for Rhondda, called in the House of Commons last week for Abramovich’s assets to be seized and for him to be barred from owning a British football club after a leaked 2019 Home Office document linked Abramovich to the Russian state.

There have been concerns raised about the ability of the foundation, which had an income of £5.7m in the year to the end of June 2021, to oversee the running of the football club and whether it would give rise to governance issues.

A spokesperson for the Charity Commission said: “We have contacted the charity seeking information and, in line with our guidance, the charity has also made a report to the commission. We cannot comment further at this time.”

Abramovich’s statement said: “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.”

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