Chelsea fans have received a massive backlash for their ‘Roman Abramovich’ chant before their collision with Norwich.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the London football club have felt the heat. Abramovich’s association with Vladimir Putin has resulted in media scrutiny.
On March 10, the British government imposed sanctions on Chelsea.
They released the following statement: “To ensure the club can continue to compete and operate, we are issuing a special licence that will allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches. All while crucially depriving Abramovich of benefiting from his ownership.”
Matters worsened for the club when ‘Three’ suspended their sponsorship. Therefore ‘The Blues’ will be without a logo on their shirt for the foreseeable future. But despite the criticism Chelsea is receiving, a large percentage of their fans stick by the entrepreneur who’s owned the club since 2003.
Chelsea fans chant for Roman Abramovich
Before their 3-1 victory away at Carrow Road Stadium, Blues fans loudly chanted in support of Abramovich. Although he’s friends with the Russian President, the Stamford Bridge faithful adore the billionaire.
The man who TalkSport named as ‘the best owner in the world’ spent a whopping £2 billion, hired 15 managers and won 21 trophies, including the Premier League and the Champions League.
But after 19 years with the club, he announced his decision to sell due to the overwhelming pressure.
As per Talk Sport, he said: “As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart. 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.
“The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked. But will follow due process. I will not ask for the repayment of any loans. This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and club. Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation. This is where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated.
“The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.
“Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the club. I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person.”
What do Chelsea’s rivals think?
The news has devastated Blues fans who’ve enjoyed the ride Abramovich has taken them on. But some supporters of other clubs view that as a primary example of why sportswashing works. A percentage of the Stamford Bridge faithful are willing to ignore the situation ongoing in Ukraine. Their allegiance lies with Abramovich because he’s given them many unforgettable memories.
Rival fans have taken to Reddit to voice their concerns.
One said: “What it comes down to is they have such a sad existence. They believe that bought vicarious glory is more important to them than being decent humans.”
While another pointed out: “It’s not at all unique to Chelsea. There’s a whole group of people who devote far too much of their personality to supporting a club. And when someone challenges their support, they feel challenged. It’s also not unique to football. But the tribalism of sport certainly makes for a potent catalyst.”
Even a Blues supporter admitted: “As a Chelsea fan, this is embarrassing. But something we have to acknowledge as a fanbase. Sportswashing works too well, unfortunately.”
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