A spokesperson for Vladimir Putin has confirmed that current Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich played a role in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. Reports shortly after Russia’s invasion of their European neighbours hinted that the 55-year-old was set to play a key part in discussions between the two nations.
It was initially unclear how deep Abramovich’s involvement was but Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov has indicated that Abramovich was involved in initial discussions but has now stepped back to allow talks to continue between Russia and Ukraine. He said: “He did take part at the initial stage. Now the negotiations are between the two teams, the Russians and Ukrainians.”
Whether the continued talks lead to a resolution of the conflict remains to be seen but Abramovich certainly has plenty to consider himself. The 55-year-old announced his decision to sell Chelsea on March 2 having overseen a hugely successful near two-decade long ownership at Stamford Bridge. His assets in the UK were frozen by the Government eight days later. In a written statement, the Russian indicated that he will not profit from any upcoming sale.
It read: “The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process. I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid. This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and club. Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.”
Having confirmed his intentions to sell, a takeover appears to be edging ever closer after a number of interested parties expressed their intentions to lodge a bid. The Raine Group, who are overseeing a deal, set a deadline of last Friday for confirmed bids to be lodged.
They have now informed a few of the interested parties over whether they will be named as preferred bidders and can as a consequence progress to the next stage of negotiations. One party that has already fallen by the wayside is Saudi Media Group, although it has been suggested that they could instead join another consortium in an effort to still have some involvement at Stamford Bridge.