Chelsea have said they are ‘praying for peace’ in Ukraine but declined to make any comment on the Russian forces or the country’s president, Vladimir Putin.
On Sunday the club released a terse statement simply reading: “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.”
Russia built on their continued 2014 invasion of Ukraine last week when the breached borders across the country.
In response, the international community has taken increasingly severe steps against the country, including financial and legal sanctions against prominent companies, financial institutions, and allies to the government.
One particular target could be oligarchs, with Britain’s foreign secretary Liz Truss claiming that more figures would be included as assets are targeted for confiscation. That has led to speculation that Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich could be in line for further consequences, after his visa was not renewed in 2018.
Abramovich has consistently denied links with Vladimir Putin despite serving under him as a politician, but he was named in Parliament last week by Labour MP Chris Bryant in relation to ‘links with the Russian state’ and ‘corrupt activities.’
On Saturday Chelsea announced that Chelsea’s charitable foundation would take ‘stewardship’ of the club, although experts suggest the notion of stewardship has no legal meaning in this context, and Abramovich still owns the club.