Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was unable to attend his side’s FA Cup final victory over Manchester United on Saturday because his visa has expired, according to reports.
Metro Uk reports that the west London club won 1-0 at Wembley thanks to a first-half penalty from Eden Hazard, and Abramovich was notably absent while the rest of Chelsea’s board congratulated the players.
And now the Financial Times report that the reason the Russian oligarch was unable to attend is because his visa has not been renewed.
Amid geopolitical tensions between the United Kingdom and Russia, UK authorities have taken longer than normal to renew his investor visa, which ran out last month. Abramovich – whose net worth of £9.3billion makes him the 13th richest man in Britain – has been forced to return to Russia as a result.
Sources close to Abramovich insists that his request for a new visa has not been explicitly denied, but no explanation has been given for the longer than usual delay.
It has been claimed for several years that the Russian billionaire was looking to take a step back from Chelsea and reduce his investment in the club, with manager Antonio Conte often frustrated with the club’s relative lack of spending power in recent seasons. Conte could be the latest managerial casualty of Abramovich’s rollercoaster reign at Stamford Bridge, with the Italian expected to depart despite winning the FA Cup.
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