Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich believes it is in the "best interest" of the Champions League holders if he parts ways with the club he has transformed since his purchase in 2003.

Abramovich says he has told his aides to set up a charitable foundation which would receive all net proceeds from the sale.
Abramovich says he has told his aides to set up a charitable foundation which would receive all net proceeds from the sale. (AP)

Russian businessman Roman Abramovich has decided to sell Chelsea Football Club, 19 years after buying the London side, and promised to donate money from the sale to help victims of the war in Ukraine.

Amid calls for Abramovich to be hit by sanctions after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the 55 year-old billionaire said in a statement on Wednesday that a sale was in the best interests of the reigning European and world soccer champions.

"I have always taken decisions with the club's best interest at heart," Abramovich said.

"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."

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Charitable foundation for war victims

Abramovich said he would not ask for loans he has made to the club - reported to total $2 billion - to be repaid to him and the sale would not be fast-tracked.

He said he had told his aides to set up a charitable foundation which would receive all net proceeds from the sale.

"The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine," Abramovich said.

"This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery."

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Source: Reuters