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Russian oligarch and former Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich issued a farewell statement to fans Saturday, just hours after the club announced it had reached "a final and definitive (sale) agreement" with Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly.
Abramovich, who owned the club for nearly 20 years before he was sanctioned over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said his goal of finding a new owner came with "great responsibility."
Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich celebrates winning the Champions League after the UEFA Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea FC at Estadio do Dragao May 29, 2021, in Porto, Portugal. (Alex Caparros/UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
"Since I came to Chelsea nearly 20 years ago, I have witnessed firsthand what this club can achieve. My goal has been to ensure that the next owner has a mindset that will enable success for the men’s and women’s team, as well as the will and drive to continue developing other key aspects of the club, such as the academy and the vital work of Chelsea Foundation," the statement said.
"I am pleased this search has now come to a successful conclusion. As I hand over Chelsea to its new custodians, I would like to wish them the best of success, both on and off the pitch."
Chelsea has been operating under a government license since Abramovich’s assets were frozen in March following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. The deal is expected to be approved Monday, just one day before the license expires.
"Chelsea Football Club can confirm that a final and definitive agreement was entered into last night to sell the club to the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Capital consortium," the team announced earlier Saturday.
Chelsea's prospective U.S. owner Todd Boehly, left, holding a Chelsea bag as the Chelsea team completes a lap of honor after a Premier League match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge May 22, 2022, in London. (Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Boehly’s group was chosen on May 7 after guaranteeing a $2.2 billion investment in the team, the highest price ever for a sports team.
"It has been an honour of a lifetime to be a part of this club. I would like to thank all the club’s past and current players, staff and, of course, fans for these incredible years," Abramovich added.
"I am proud that, as a result of our joint successes, millions of people will now benefit from the new charitable foundation, which is being established. This is the legacy which we have created together."
Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea, celebrates with the FIFA Club World Cup trophy after a victory during the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2021 final match between Chelsea and Palmeiras at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium Feb. 12, 2022, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Michael Regan/FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
The men's team won 21 trophies during Abramovich's ownership.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.