What does Roman Abramovich's statement mean for Chelsea ahead of the Carabao Cup final?

Roman Abramovich Chelsea ownerGetty Images

Roman Abramovich's statement about the status of his Chelsea's ownership has stunned the football world on Saturday.

It stated that trustees of Chelsea’s charitable foundation would take the "stewardship" of the club from him indefinitely.

The 109 words initially released were not enough to satisfy all the questions on what it meant but GOAL can explain the situation further.

So who is in charge of Chelsea now?

In the simplest terms, Roman Abramovich still owns Chelsea.

But he has stepped away from his previously held leadership duties, meaning he will not be involved in the operations of the west London club that he bought in 2003 anymore.

Chelsea's motivation is to ensure the club's image isn't further damaged by their association to the powerful Russian figure during the ongoing fighting in Ukraine after Russia's recent military invasion.

The trustees of Chelsea's charitable foundation are as follows: Bruce Buck, John Devine, Emma Hayes, Piara Power, Paul Ramos and Sir Hugh Robertson.

They will resolve any issues which were usually resolved by the owner in his absence.

This was outlined in the statement: "I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. I remain committed to these values.

"That is why I am today giving trustees of Chelsea’s charitable Foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea FC. I believe that currently they are in the best position to look after the interests of the Club, players, staff, and fans."

However, the trustees will not be running the day-to-day of the club, with Abramovich already having been limited to involvement in broader club matters.

Director Marina Granovskaia will continue to head up the football operations with technical advisor Petr Cech heavily featuring. The likes of Bruce Buck, Guy Lawrence and Eugene Tenenbaum remain on the board and will continue to run other important parts of the business.

Will Abramovich's situation damage Chelsea financially?

Chelsea have gradually moved towards a sustainable financial model, no longer requiring the owner to pump as much of his personal wealth into the club as he once did.

Initially, the Blues racked up huge losses when Abramovich bought the club in 2003 but have matured into a solid superclub after 19 years of his ownership.

Overall, he has contributed more than £1.5 billion ($2bn) of his personal wealth to sustain the club over nearly two decades.

It has been speculated that Abramovich could look to reclaim that £1.5bn, which Chelsea owe him in loans. However, GOAL has been reassured by sources that, just like before, he won't look to have those debts repaid in the near future.

Will it stop him from being sanctioned by the UK Government?

There's an appetite in the UK to punish a group of super-wealthy Russian nationals to put pressure on Prime Minister Vladimir Putin after his acts of military aggression towards Ukraine.

Stripping Abramovich of his ownership of Chelsea, along with an estimated £152 million ($202m) property is an option that remains open and beyond his control.

GOAL understands, however, that he is not seeking to sell Chelsea in the meantime.

Can Chelsea sign players?

Chelsea continues to have a budget and cash flow from TV rights, sponsors, player sales and matchday revenue so they can operate.

That allows them to conduct a certain amount of business in the transfer market, even though they can't sign any new stars until the market reopens in the summer.

It must be said that Abramovich does often get involved in transfer dealings and was involved in the arrivals of Kai Havertz and Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea.

Also, he has covered any shortfall on player trading in the past when the Blues have looked to push their budgets to the limits.

It remains unknown what effect this will have on the club's business in the summer but it is expected that they will be able to operate in the market uninterrupted without him being involved.

Will it impact the Carabao Cup final?

It has been argued that these issues of the owner and politics are above the squad, but the timing is far from ideal.

With the announcement coming on the eve of the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool, it has likely been a distraction.

It is understood that Thomas Tuchel was initially told of a major announcement during the training session ahead of the upcoming event at Wembley Stadium.

He also spoke about it being a distraction in his final press conference ahead of his side's shot at their first domestic silverware since 2018.

"The situation in general, for me and for my staff and for everybody here at Cobham, for the players, is horrible," Tuchel told reporters on Friday afternoon.

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"Nobody expected this. It’s pretty unreal, it’s clouding our minds, it’s clouding excitement towards the [Carabao Cup] final and it brings huge uncertainty.

"To a certain degree I can understand it to such a degree the opinions and the critical opinions towards the club, towards us who represent that club. I can understand that and we cannot fully free ourselves from it."

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