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27th Feb 2022

Chelsea FC put out 24-word statement on Ukraine conflict – it was an own goal

Kieran Galpin

There was no mention of Russia, nor the invasion

As Ukrainian people fight for the right to exist, Chelsea FC released a 24-word statement that mentioned nothing about the club’s Russian oligarch owner, Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea has faced criticism all week and calls for Abramovich’s finances to be frozen and his assets seized. Following the announcement that Abramovich would hand over stewardship and care of Chelsea, the club released a rather brief statement.

“The situation in Ukraine is horrific and devastating. Chelsea FC’s thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine. Everyone at the club is praying for peace,” the statement reads.


The club linked the statement to Twitter where a storm of outrage formed.

“Let it be known…. you’re a DISGRACE and everyone sees through these empty words and disingenuous statement!” wrote one angry fan. Another said: “Shameless club! Not even condemning the actions of Putin! Keep supporting his regime!”

Others criticised the language employed in the minuscule statement. There was no mention of Russia whatsoever, war was described as “conflict” and instead of invasion they opted for “situation.”

One person tweeted:” ‘Conflict’ they say. Let me fix this for you. It’s an invasion by Putin!”

“Imagine calling it a conflict and not an invasion. Weirdos,” another questioned.

There are fears for the football club should Abramovich be sanctioned by the UK government.

A report from the Times claimed Abramovich, who has been Chelsea’s owner since 2003, could respond by demanding the £1.5bn he is owed by the club if he is hit by any measures.

“If he feels he is being made a scapegoat for the activities of Putin then the worst-case scenario is he tries to call in the loan,” football finance Kieran Maguire, a finance lecturer at Liverpool University, is quoted as saying.

“Then we’ve got a crisis. He and Putin could argue that it is the British government that has destroyed Chelsea Football Club.

“There could be a lot of misrepresentation and accusations made from all parties if the British government does go down this route.

“But I suspect this government will not want to upset football fans as we have a populist government. I suspect Chelsea’s legal team would be going through all the options.”

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