Roman Abramovich has laid down gauntlet to new owners to build on Chelsea Women’s success

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has already laid down the gauntlet to the next club owners to continue building upon the success of the women’s team. It comes at a time of change at Stamford Bridge, with potential new owners bringing uncertainty surrounding how both the men’s and women’s team may operate going forward.

Abramovich, 55, is selling the club after almost 20 years in charge, having taken over in 2003. He has since had sanctions imposed on him by the UK Government, which has restricted how Chelsea can operate.

The government described him as a “Pro-kremlin oligarch” with ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, something Abramovich has always denied. The sanctions bring along a freeze to all of his UK assets by lui, which includes Chelsea, who currently operate under a special sporting license.

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So after 19 years, it throws doubt over how the Blues can continue to operate in the fashion that they do, given extensive losses across the whole football club. However, one section of the club that is in doubt is the women’s team.

Football has seen before the impact of new owners on the funding of women’s teams, often left neglected in favor of success on the men’s side. This was something that Abramovich did not do in his tenure of him.

Speaking to Forbes about funding the women’s team, he said last year: “Chelsea is not just the men’s first team, Chelsea is a community. It’s the women’s team, it’s the youth teams, it’s the academy, it’s support to former players of the club.

“It’s something that we started to do since day one. The reason is that we approached Chelsea as a community. And people within the community – there are children, there are women, there are men, there are former players, there are current players , there are future players – all of them need to be welcomed and part of how we conduct the business.

“I see no reason why clubs wouldn’t want to support women’s football and provide the best possible opportunity for them to succeed. For me, this is both about the principle, but, also, women’s football has huge potential. the same level as support as men’s football, the sport would obviously be equally successful on the business side.

“And I think investment pays off. I think their success demonstrates what can be achieved when you dedicated resources and the right leadership. Emma Hayes has been remarkable in her work with the team.”

It lays down a challenge to the next owners to be able to continue backing the Blues, including the work put in by Hayes and her team. The manager has won a plethora of trophies since coming into the club in 2012, winning the Super League four times, three FA Cups and two League Cups in her time in charge.

Hayes has discussed the impact of new ownership on her team, but claims she is not worried about the future. Speaking earlier this month, she said: “I have no anxieties or worries about our status. I know we’re embedded internally. I know the relationships we have across the club; all departments are working on the same page and that won’t change. ”

She also added: “Chelsea people are amazing people in all sections and nothing’s changed in that respect. While we acknowledge the club is to be sold, it will always be a significant force in the game. While we’ll have a new owner, the culture whereby we all look after each other will remain. I think we’ll continue to be hugely successful.

“Of course uncertainty creates conversation and it was important we had a briefing this morning. It reminded the players of our strength and togetherness. Chelsea will remain a strong force because of the people involved here, which is part of the reason why we’ve been successful. Footballers know things don’t remain the same. Having that ability to acknowledge change and adapt and evolve to it makes top-class players what they are. “

While the club is currently in an existential crisis across all sectors, the mission is clear for the next owners. To keep investing in what is not only a club, but a community.

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