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27th Feb 2022

Gary Neville slams ‘cowardly’ Roman Abramovich for Chelsea statement

Daniel Brown

Gary Neville

Neville has condemned Abramovich for his statement

Gary Neville has criticised ‘cowardly’ Roman Abramovich for his recent statement announcing that he had handed over the stewardship and care of Chelsea to trustees of its charitable foundation.

The Blues’ Russian owner, who has been in charge since 2003, released a statement on Saturday (February 26) where he claimed that he believed the trustees were in the best position to look after the club’s interests.

It came after reports that the UK government may look to place sanctions on Abramovich as part of its response Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So far, the government has yet to impose any sanctions against him.

Ministers have been encouraged to to either seize or freeze Abramovich’s assets in the UK after it became clear he had been named privately by the government as a person of interest due to his close ties to the Russian state and alleged ‘association with corrupt activity and practices’.

Former Manchester United defender Neville has since condemned the 55-year-old’s statement, insisting that he, and other ‘top six owners’ think they can ‘con’ supporters.

Gary Neville on Abramovich ‘hospital pass’

Speaking to Sky Sports prior to the Carabao Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea on Sunday, Neville said: “Maybe myself and most others who saw that statement thought, ‘Oh, this sounds like a noble gesture and the right thing to do’, but this when you look at who the charity trustees are, Emma Hayes, the Chelsea women’s manager, Piara Powar, who set-up Kick it Out, John Devine, it’s quite clear they’re not going to be running Chelsea football club.

“I think one of the smartest things Roman Abramovich has done over the past 20 years is not speak, not make statements, because the statement he made last night left more questions than answers.

“In fact, if anything, I thought it was a cowardly approach to throw a hospital pass to good people on the charitable and foundation board, when it’s quite clear he runs the club.

“These owners of the top six clubs are insulated from reality, they think they can put a smart PR team around them and con us with fancy words, but unfortunately it doesn’t work.

“There’s no way the charitable foundation of Chelsea are running the club and I’m not quite sure why Roman Abramovich made that statement.

“If he wanted to make a statement of any note, it would’ve been whether he supports the war in Ukraine or he doesn’t support the war in Ukraine.”

According to the Ukrainian health ministry, the death toll so far in the Russian invasion of Ukraine is at least 198, with three children among those dead.

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