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Journalist's Damning Rant About Roman Abramovich In 2013 Is Going Viral Once Again

Daniel Marland

| Last updated 

Journalist's Damning Rant About Roman Abramovich In 2013 Is Going Viral Once Again

Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports & Alamy

Journalist Matthew Syed's comments about Roman Abramovich in 2013 have resurfaced in the wake of sanctions being placed on the Chelsea owner.


Abramovich had all his assets frozen on Thursday morning, but Chelsea can still function thanks to a special licence from the UK government.

The 55-year-old is alleged to have ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, who launched an invasion of neighbouring Ukraine last month.

Abramovich has frequently denied links to Putin but Syed, who writes for the Times, questioned Abramovich's presence in the Premier League years ago.

The views below are those of Matthew Syed and not SPORTbible.

Syed said during an appearance of Sky Sports News: "Well he’s definitely spent a lot of money there’s no disputing that. But one has to look at how he’s amassed his wealth and his QC, Jonathan Sumption admitted in open court in his case against Boris Berezovsky that he had secured his money in a rigged privatisation.

"Essentially, the Oligarchs did a deal with Boris Yeltsin, who was running for re-election. ‘We will back your campaign, we will give you free advertising if you sell us the mineral wealth of the Russian people at a knockdown price.’

"Sumption admitted this, it’s not in dispute and that’s stolen money – if it can use the word. Certainly, fraudulently got.

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

"It’s what is bankrolling Chelsea which has paid for the academy, inflated first-team football salaries and you can’t look at this in a purely footballing context. You have to look at the wider moral context and, in that sense, it’s been a deeply corrosive influence on British football."

He continued: "Tony [Cascarino] talked about the fact that he has continued to invest and reinvest. He was never in Chelsea to make a profit. He wasn’t investing in order to make a return which is the way most people operate commercial assets. He bought Chelsea for protection. He knew there was a risk that Putin would come after him like he has with other Oligarchs for his role in this very dubious business practice under Yeltsin.

"And he knew one of the best ways of protecting himself from being got at by the Russian authorities was to associate himself with a highly visible British asset – and he chose Chelsea Football Club. There’s no real emotional background to that.

"That was a straight-forward hard-headed decision from a very ruthless and manipulative businessman.

"So to talk about it in terms of ‘Oh he’s great because he’s invested in British football’ look at the reason he did and look at the money he’s using."

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

Abramovich purchased Chelsea in 2003 for £140 million, with £60 million of that for the club and £80 million for any outstanding debts.

The club hadn't won a league title since 1956 before Abramovich's arrival, but have become one of the must successful clubs in England.

Chelsea have won five league titles under Abramovich's ownership as well as the Champions League twice.

All in all, they've amassed 19 major honours in the last 19 years.

Chelsea can still be sold but Abramovich cannot benefit from the money generated in any way.

The Blues are currently third in the league and return to action on Sunday against Newcastle United.

Topics: Chelsea, Roman Abramovich

Daniel Marland
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