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Roman Abramovich’s statement announcing he has handed over “stewardship and care” of Chelsea has been strongly criticised by Micah Richards.
Abramovich announced on Saturday that he had ceded control of Chelsea to trustees of the club’s charitable foundation.
The move came after Labour MP Chris Bryant called on the British government to prevent Abramovich from owning Chelsea, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart,” Abramovich said in the statement.
“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.”
Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards has questioned the ambiguity of Abramovich’s statement.
“We need more than that, don’t we?,” Richards told Sky Sports.
“After all the devastation we’ve seen in Ukraine over the last couple of days, to just come out with a statement that says you’re handing it over to a charity, I think it's poor.
“They could do a lot more than that. There’s so many questions that need to be asked.
“To come out with a statement just like that. What does that statement even mean?
“It’s almost written in code, to say like ‘we don’t exactly want to tell you what’s happening but here you go, read this, and you pick the bones out of it and see exactly what it means’.”
TV presenter and journalist Piers Morgan has also strongly criticised Abramovich’s statement.
Weasel words. Where is the condemnation of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine? If Abramovich really wants to prove he’s not a Putin puppet, he should denounce the war loudly and clearly. But he won’t….. https://t.co/OubsoE9WNr— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 26, 2022
“Weasel words,” Morgan wrote on Twitter. “Where is the condemnation of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine?
“If Abramovich really wants to prove he’s not a Putin puppet, he should denounce the war loudly and clearly. But he won’t...”
Meanwhile, Bryant has said that Abramovich’s promise to hand over stewardship of the club is not enough.
Posting on Twitter, the MP for Rhondda in Wales said: “I’m worried that the British press (with some notable exceptions) have fallen for the Abramovich line on ceding control.
“Unless and until he condemns the criminal invasion of Ukraine I will continue to call for the UK to sanction him and seize/freeze assets.”
Chelsea received a backlash from fans on Sunday after releasing a short statement on the conflict in Ukraine, which did not mention Russia.
"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 read.
The controversial statement was released on the morning that Chelsea face Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley.
Featured Image Credit: PA Images & Sky Sports
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