The UK government will only issue a special licence for the club to be sold if none of the proceeds go to the Russian billionaire

Roman Abramovich has denied asking for his £1.5 billion loan to Chelsea to be repaid as the sale of the club edges closer to completion

Abramovich officially put Chelsea up for sale in March after 19 years at the helm in response to Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, and he was subsequently sanctioned by the UK government.

The Russian billionaire said that all proceeds would go to victims of the war in Ukraine and insisted that he would not be requesting repayment on his loans to the Blues, but recent reports have suggested a restructuring of the deal could see him break his word.

What has Abramovich said?

Abramovich appointed the investment bank Raine Group to oversee the sale and he is set to have the final say on who buys Chelsea, but the UK government will only approve a takeover if he is definitely not in line to receive any proceeds.

The 55-year-old has insisted that he still has no intention of asking for his loans to be reimbursed and has confirmed that he won’t be profiting from the sale in an official statement on the club’s website.

“Following speculation in media in relation to the sale of Chelsea FC, we would like to clarify the following points,” a spokesman for Abramovich has said.

“Firstly, Mr Abramovich’s intentions in relation to gifting the proceeds from the Chelsea sale to charity have not changed.

“Since the initial announcement, Mr Abramovich’s team has identified senior representatives from UN bodies and large global charitable organizations who have been tasked with forming a Foundation and setting out a plan for its activities. The lead independent expert has had conversations with Government representatives presenting the structure and initial plans.

“Mr Abramovich has not been involved in this work and it has been managed independently by experts with years of experience working in humanitarian organizations.

“Secondly, Mr Abramovich has not asked for any loan to be repaid to him – such suggestions are entirely false – as are suggestions that Mr Abramovich increased the price of the Club last minute. As part of Mr Abramovich’s objective to find a good custodian for Chelsea FC, he has however encouraged each bidder throughout this process to commit investing in the Club – including in the Academy, Women’s team, necessary redevelopment of the stadium as well as maintaining the work of Chelsea Foundation.

“Following sanctions and other restrictions imposed on Mr Abramovich by the UK since announcing that the Club would be sold, the loan has also become subject to EU sanctions, requiring additional approvals. That means that the funds will be frozen and subject to a legal procedure governed by authorities. These funds are still earmarked for the Foundation. The Government are aware of these restrictions as well as the legal implications.

“To be clear, Mr Abramovich has no access or control of these funds and will not have any access or control of these funds following the sale. Despite the changing circumstances since his initial announcement – he remains committed to finding a good custodian for Chelsea FC and making sure the proceeds go to good causes.”

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