Premier League chief welcomes Abramovich's Chelsea sale

Premier League's chief executive Richard Masters welcomed Roman Abramovich's search for a new owner for Chelsea but cautioned that sales normally take several weeks.


Faced with the threat of financial sanctions targeting Russians, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich confirmed on Wednesday that he is trying to sell the Premier League club.   -  Reuters

Roman Abramovich has made the right decision to sell Chelsea following Russia's invasion of Ukraine as the 55-year-old's ownership had become "unsustainable", the English Premier League's chief executive Richard Masters said.

Amid growing calls for Abramovich to be hit by sanctions after Russia's invasion of its neighbour, he said in a statement on Wednesday that a sale was in the best interests of the reigning European and world football champion.

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Masters welcomed Abramovich's search for a new owner for the London club but cautioned that sales normally take several weeks.

"I think the situation has escalated incredibly quickly over the last seven days and he's come to the right conclusion," Masters told the Financial Times Football Business Summit. "It's unsustainable in the current environment.

"So it's a welcome decision and obviously, for the sake of everybody, including the fans, as soon as the sale process concludes everyone has certainty.

"I think the quickest one (sale of a Premier League club)we've ever done is 10 days. That's not to say it can't be beaten, but normally they take a number of weeks. It depends on the complexity of the information available," he added.

Masters also said that as a consequence of events in Ukraine, that Russian President Vladimir Putin has called "a special military operation", the Premier League's broadcasting deal to show the division on Russian television is "under review".

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The Russian rights for the current season are owned by a company called Rambler, and broadcast on streaming platform Okko, with Match TV – owned by energy giant Gazprom – then set to start a six-year deal from 2022-23. Commercial contracts with Russia in all sectors are under scrutiny at the moment.

"I'd like the Russian people to see the strength of feeling in the Premier League and in English football this weekend," Masters said.

"We're looking at (the contracts) very closely in terms of suspension, termination. It's happening right now. It's a fast-moving situation," he added.

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