Roman Abramovich announced his intention to sell Chelsea in a post yesterday on the club website. This strikes me as kind of a big deal. The Russian oligarch whose near-incomprehensible wealth and rampant spending changed the Premier League landscape forever (and not in a good way) will quite suddenly no longer be a part of the league. Abramovich intends to write off nearly $2B in loans to the club (for tax purposes, I’m assuming) and the “net proceeds” will go to a soon to be created foundation to help the victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It’s too soon to say how a Chelsea sale might affect the Premier League balance of power, but my gut feeling is that it will knock the club down a few pegs. I’m not sure we realize the extent of Roman’s spending and how much it propped up the club nor how much his business contacts’ sponsorship arrangements with the club helped them navigate financial regulations. I don’t think there is any world in which it is a positive for Chelsea, except maybe if it brings some managerial stability as opposed to Roman’s revolving door.
It must be nice to be able to write off BILLIONS of dollars in loans and not bat an eye. I’d like that kind of money. It’s yet another reminder that in the world of sports money, we are way closer to the players making tens or hundreds of thousands a week than we are to the owners.
And speaking of owners, Stan Kroenke is looking better by the day. I still don’t like the guy very much, and nobody needs billions of dollars, but at least our crappy dude owner isn’t buddies with a guy risking starting World War III or a nation-state willfully trampling human rights. Let’s go Stan!