Abramovich says he has decided to sell Chelsea Football Club

March 22, 2014 shows billionaire and Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich AFP

Russian businessman Roman Abramovich said on Wednesday he had decided to sell Chelsea Football Club, 19 years after buying the London side, and promised to donate money from the sale to help victims of the war in Ukraine.

"I have always taken decisions with the club's best interest at heart," Abramovich said in statement published by the reigning European and world soccer champions on their website.

"In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the club's sponsors and partners."

Abramovich said he would not ask for loans he has made to the club - reported to total 1.5 billion pounds ($2.0 billion) - to be repaid to him and the sale would not be fast-tracked.

He said he had told his aides to set up a charitable foundation which would receive all net proceeds from the sale.

"The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine," Abramovich said in the statement.

"This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery."

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