Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is spotted in the stands at Krasnodar in his native Russia as the billionaire attends his first Blues game since the 2019 Europa League final in Baku amid issues with UK visa
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was in the stands for his side’s Champions League clash at Krasnodar on Wednesday night as he watched his first game live since their Europa League final victory over Arsenal in 2019.
The influential Russian billionaire withdrew his application for a new visa in the UK in 2018 amid a Government crackdown on wealthy overseas investors, and has stayed away from Britain ever since.
Abramovich, who was often a familiar face at many of Chelsea’s home games, obtained Israeli citizenship in a bid to allow him visa-free entry to Britain for six months, but it is understood he has not taken advantage of it.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich attended his first game since 2019 at Krasnodar this week
He was often a familiar face at Stamford Bridge but has had trouble obtaining a new UK visa
He previously had a tier-1 visa, which allows people who invest more than £2m in the British economy to stay for 40 months. It had been granted before more stringent regulations were introduced in April 2015.
He last saw Chelsea play in Baku as Maurizio Sarri’s side thrashed Unai Emery’s Gunners 4-1 in the Azerbaijan spectacle, but took up the opportunity to watch them in his native Russia for their group stage game.
The 54-year-old was spotted in the stands at the Krasnodar Stadium wearing a face mask, with coronavirus restrictions easing in Russia to allow a portion of fans to attend.
The last Chelsea game he saw was their 2019 Europa League triumph over Arsenal in Baku
There have been rumours that the Russian, who has a fierce reputation of sacking managers at Stamford Bridge, could be ready to sell the club due to his restrictions on operating in the UK.
But Abramovich has still managed to stay heavily involved in the club’s affairs despite staying away from British soil, overseeing a spending spree of £230million this summer to bolster the squad with big names like Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva.
The oligarch, a friend of Russia president Vladimir Putin, is one of the most well-known Premier League owners and has been in charge of Chelsea since he took the club over in 2003. His investment has reaped huge success with the Blues winning five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League.