Gary Neville reacts to Roman Abramovich’s shocking statement about his intention to sell Chelsea | Soccer News


Gary Neville has reacted to Roman Abramovich’s announcement that he intended to sell Chelsea after owning the club for nearly 20 years.

Abramovich made the announcement on Wednesday evening amid growing fears of British sanctions, and said the net proceeds from the sale would be used to set up a charitable foundation “for the benefit of all victims of war in Ukraine”.

The billionaire had originally planned to hand over the “stewardship and care” of Chelsea to the trustees of the club’s foundation, as stated in an earlier statement on Saturday, as part of a move to protect the club from Stamford Bridge after the invasion of its neighbor by Russia.

But he has now publicly admitted he was looking to sell.

Abramovich bought Chelsea in a £140million deal in 2003 and owes £1.5billion in loans, a debt he says he is not asking to be repaid.

Following the announcement, sky sports Pundit Neville has given his view on the situation and the problems with the so-called sports washing and club ownership in the Premier League…

‘Chelsea have succeeded under Abramovich’

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Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich confirms plans to sell West London Premier League club

“It’s more of a reactive measure than a planned one because I don’t think he would have issued the statement on Saturday night handing the club over to the administrators if he had known he was going to put the club up for sale within days. later.

“We’ve seen in the news over the past four or five days that wealthy Russians are moving their assets all over the world to safer havens where they won’t have their assets seized, and Abramovich is no different.

“He has been an important owner in the history of the Premier League for the past 20 years. I think he has improved the competitiveness of the Premier League.

“He was a pattern at the start which I found odd, coming from a stable club at the time in Manchester United – quite regularly sacking successful managers. But over the last 20 years he has been a very successful owner of a football club who has created a distinctive pattern in the way he approaches things, especially with his academy players.

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Speaking at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, Gary Neville told the event he would not be kicking Roman Abramovich out of Chelsea or English football.

“It was a very successful and admired football club under his leadership, but ultimately those alleged links with Vladimir Putin and the war with Ukraine ended it.

“I think things have been coming closer to him for a few years now and it came to a head last week.

“I don’t think all of a sudden Abramovich is a philanthropist and he’s an angel walking away from English football – I don’t think anyone should do that. We all know how Russian wealth has been distributed all those years ago after the breakup of the Soviet Union… There were alleged links to Putin, no one really knows how much.

“But there were reports the other day that Abramovich was helping with the peace talks, so he must be very close if they were true.”

Neville on the sport wash

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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says he can’t imagine Chelsea without Roman Abramovich but says he’s “not afraid of change”, ahead of the Russian’s sale of the club.

“There’s a lot of talk about sports washing, around Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Russia coming into the sport in this country. I’ve been quite positive in my opinion that we should accept this money in our country.

“Right now this theory is being tested enormously, but I would rather use sport to change and create better environments and circumstances for people in countries that don’t have it as free as ours.

“What I would say with sportswashing and Russia is that FIFA’s hesitation at the start didn’t help. [following the invasion of Ukraine] when Poland said they would not face them in the World Cup play-offs. FIFA is embedded in Russia and it took them a while to fake it like they normally do, saying they could play with the country on their shirts and the national anthem was not being played.

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Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol says Roman Abramovich’s sale of Chelsea is in the hands of the British government as they may apply sanctions against the Russian oligarch.

“When you see Russia win [the right to host] big tournaments and trying to legitimize their regime through sport it challenges my opinion that I would rather it be inclusive and bring in countries with what you would say are bad human rights records man or other major issues. I would rather see the sport rise above that and accept that these countries are trying to influence change and have an impact on change.

“For those who are adamant that we shouldn’t allow this money into the Premier League and other parts of our society, they’re having a very strong week because even my long-standing opinion is being tested enormously.

“Chelsea fans have a lot of affinity with Abramovich and rightly so. But the reality is that Chelsea will be fine and whether or not you like the idea of ​​Russian money entering English football, Abramovich has been a very good owner for Chelsea. There are worse owners who are English.”

‘The Premier League needs more ownership transparency’

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked about Chelsea ownership by Roman Abramovich, after Russia invaded Ukraine

“We have a problem in English football with ownership in general… football has been on the brink for a few years now and that’s why I’ve called for an independent regulator.

“I’m not against Saudi money coming to Newcastle, I know Newcastle fans welcomed this to transform their football club because they had a very poor English owner. However, what should to be a right for all football fans in this country, that was the criterion that Saudis had to meet to be accepted into English football.Where is the transparency?

“The Premier League is a closed shop around these issues and that’s not good enough. It’s rushing at them like you wouldn’t believe because they can no longer separate sport and these societal and political issues.

“They’re going to have to stand up and accept that even though they don’t believe they’re a public body, they’re ultimately going to be seen as that and they have to act and behave that way.

“We’ve seen other societal issues continually bleed into football over the last 18 months to two or three years and that’s absolutely true. We can no longer separate ourselves in sport or football and that’s is something that means football is going to have to be held at higher stands.

“That means there has to be more independence, more transparency and recognizing that football is too important in this country – too important for the fans.”




Sky Sports

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