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Abramovich statement a 'cowardly approach' says Neville as Carragher says Chelsea have 'embarrassed themselves' by not mentioning Ukraine

19:58 GMT+3 27/02/2022
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The ex-Man Utd defender believes the Russian billionaire is still in charge at Chelsea despite Saturday's statement

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have both hit out at Chelsea and the club's owner Roman Abramovich amid a continuing firestorm over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich, who has been criticised over alleged close ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, announced on Saturday he had passed the "stewardship" of Chelsea to the club's charitable foundation.

The club followed with a brief statement on Sunday, which reads: "The situation in Ukraine is horrific and devastating. Chelsea FC’s thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine. Everyone at the club is praying for peace."

Neville slams Abramovich gesture

Speaking on Sky Sports, Neville hit out at Abramovich's gesture, saying it was clear that the Russian billionaire is still in charge.

"One of the smartest things that I think Roman Abramovich has done over the last 20 years is not speak, not make statements," Neville said. "Because the statement that he made last night left more questions than answers.

"If anything I thought it was, to be fair, a cowardly approach to sort of throw a hospital pass to good people on the charitable and foundation board when it's quite clear he runs the club with Marina [Granovskaia, club director] and [technical and performance advisor] Petr Cech.

"There's no way that the charitable foundation of Chelsea is running the club and I'm not quite sure why Roman Abramovich made that statement.

"If he wanted to make a statement of any note it would have been whether he supports the war in Ukraine or he actually doesn't support the war in Ukraine."

Carragher: Chelsea embarrassed themselves

Carragher piled on to Neville's comments, saying that Chelsea "embarrassed themselves" with their statement.

“I don’t think they’ve handled it really well. With the couple of statements they’ve put out. I think it’s been really poor and they’ve let themselves down badly," the ex-Liverpool defender said.

“I don’t think they did that well either.

“It’s not worked out well for them at all, I think they’ve embarrassed themselves. They should have been a lot stronger in what they said, and regarding Roman Abramovich passing on to Chelsea trustees, that’s not him relinquishing the club, stewardship is not ownership. It’s completely different because he’s still in charge, he’s still running it, which is fine.

"But to not actually mention in his initial statement what was going on in Ukraine, I thought was really poor.”

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