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Labour MP Chris Bryant last week raised questions over Abramovich’s ownership of Chelsea amid Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The Chelsea owner’s daughter has staunchly defended her father on social media, with Abramovich, 55, denying close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ahead of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup defeat to Liverpool on Sunday, Abramovich confirmed that he was handing over “stewardship and care” of the club to trustees.
“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,” he said in a statement.
“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.”
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia, 47, is expected to hold a key role in controlling football operations at Stamford Bridge after Abramovich’s statement.
Neville insisted that there is “no way” Chelsea’s charitable foundation will be running the club, with the Sky Sports pundit unsure why Abramovich made the statement.
“Maybe myself and most others who saw that statement thought, ‘Oh, this is a noble gesture, it’s the right thing to do’ […] when you look at who the trustees are, Emma Hayes the Chelsea Women’s manager, Piara Powar who set up Kick It Out, John Devine [sports lawyer], it’s quite clear they’re not going to be running Chelsea Football Club,” he told Sky Sports.
“One of the smartest things I think that Roman Abramovich has done over the last 20 years is not speak, not make statements because the statement that he made last night left more questions than answers.
“In fact, if anything, it was cowardly approach to throw a hospital pass to good people on the foundation board when it’s quite clear he runs the football club with Marina [Granovskaia] and Petr Cech.
“These owners from the top-six clubs are insulated from reality. They think they can put a smart PR team around them and con us with fancy words but unfortunately it doesn’t work.
“There’s no way that the charitable foundation of Chelsea are running the club, and I’m not quite sure why Roman Abramovich made that statement.
“If he wanted to make a statement of any note, it would’ve been whether he supports the war in Ukraine or he doesn’t support the war in Ukraine.”
Featured Image Credit: PA/Sky Sports
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