Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been forced to return to Russia after being unable to renew his UK visa which reportedly expired in April.
Abramovich, who is Britain’s 13th richest man according to the Sunday Times with £9.3bn, left the UK after his investor visa expired and couldn’t attend Chelsea’s 1-0 win in the FA Cup final on Saturday at Wembley.
A source close to the Russian billionnaire said that the request for a visa had not been denied, but that the UK authorities were taking longer than usual to renew it without offering any explanation.
The situation may not be unconnected to the current impasse between the UK and Russia following the poisoning of a double agent in Salisbury. UK alomgside its allies have slammed sanctions against Russia, insisting the attack was carried out by the Soviet nation bit Moscow denies the allegations, asking UK to provide berifiable proof.
Accordimg to Forbes magazine, Abramovic, 51, is Russia’s 11th richest man with wealth of $10.8bn (£11bn). He made his fortune predominantly in the oil industry in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
He bought Chelsea from Ken Bates in 2003 for £140m and invested heavily in the club, building its commercial power, establishing a new training complex and bringing in new players and staff.