Great Britain does not allow funds from the sale of “Chelsea” to be spent outside of Ukraine

Anhelina Sheremet

Great Britain has forbidden the War Relief Fund to use the money from the sale of Chelsea football club to help Ukrainians outside of Ukraine.

The chairman of the foundation Mike Penrose said this in an article for The Times.

When "Chelsea" was sold, the proceeds were given to the Foundation so that they could benefit "all victims of the war in Ukraine and its consequences." However, a year later, the British government told the Fund that it would receive money only if it agreed to limit spending to the geographical borders of Ukraine — "that is, we will not be able to consider any request that could allocate money to Ukrainians outside of Ukraine." The Fund does not agree with this, because it is possible, for example, to help Ukrainian refugees abroad.

"With a huge amount of money like this — around £2.35 billion — the idea of not helping the most vulnerable, wherever they live, is almost unconscionable," Mike Penrose noted.

He emphasized that due to the geographical limitation of the aid, the Fund "will not be able to adhere to the international humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence, which the government requires of all non-profit organizations." Penrose is asking the government to allocate funds "without imposing political conditions that would limit our ability to help all Ukrainians, the communities and people who host them, as well as the most vulnerable people directly affected by this war."

Penrose added that the Foundation has a world-class board of trustees, a clear structure for the allocation of funds and identified experts to help make this happen quickly, as well as projects to which funds could be directed, including in the UK.

"Our intention is to allocate these funds to legitimate humanitarian programs whose transparency and accountability can be confirmed and which only help civilians affected by this conflict," added the head of the Foundation.

  • In May 2022, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich sold Chelsea FC so that the team would not fall under the sanctions that awaited the oligarch himself. American billionaire Todd Boley paid £2.5 billion for the club, leaving £2.3 billion ($2.9 billion) after transaction costs.
  • Abramovich "wanted the proceeds to be transferred to a charity fund for the needs of victims from Russia and Ukraine." Instead, the British government planned to transfer this money only to the newly created Fund for Aid to Victims of the War in Ukraine.