Former sports minister claims Roman Abramovich has wanted to sell Chelsea for ‘some time’

Tracey Crouch MP, who was minister for sport from 2015 to 2018, told the Financial Times’ Business of Sport summit that Roman Abramovich has “wanted to divest of Chelsea for some time”.

Roman Abramovich has wanted to sell Chelsea “for some time”, a former government sports minister has claimed.

Tracey Crouch MP, who was minister for sport from 2015 to 2018, claimed that it was “inevitable” that the oligarch would sell the south-west London club.

Tracey Crouch MP as Sports Minister in 2015. Credit: FCO/CC

He also stated that he would not ask for repayment of the £1.5bn loan he had given to the club, and claimed that any profits from the sale would go towards a charity to help the victims of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking at the Financial Times’ Business of Football summit, Spurs fan Crouch said: “There were some omissions in his statement [Abramovich], he didn’t mention the war in Russia for example.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has announced he is selling the club.

“But I think it was something that was inevitable, he’s wanted to divest of Chelsea for some time.

“But clearly what is happening at the moment in Ukraine has put more of a spotlight on his ownership of Chelsea.

“I’m not at all surprised, and I’m not sure anyone in this room is surprised, given the speculation around sanctions, that he has decided to sell it.”

Crouch - who is an FA qualified coach and manages a youth girls’ football team - has written the an independent fan-led review, which is currently being scrutinised by the government.

She continued: “Fans are essential, every time there’s an issue that comes up in football I try and think about it from a fan’s perspective.

“The live example right now is about Abramovich and Chelsea.

“There’s been lots written in the last week about Chelsea and sanctions and everything else, but no one quite seems to know what this would mean for a football fan.

“I keep thinking about what this would mean for the 12-year-old, who would potentially be going to their first match on Saturday, and all of a sudden be involved - if the club is sanctioned - in some kind of illicit relationship.

“So I think we always have to try and navigate these issues through the lens of a football fan.”