Chelsea FC: Caught between Football and War


There is an ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine that has created a huge divide between the West and Russia. A country like India that has a non-interventionism policy for other people’s conflict is dragged into this mess as well. India however is a country that has its priorities straight, i.e., they don’t take sides when two countries are fighting with each other.

One organisation however that is catching stray bullets from both sides is the Chelsea football club from London.

What is the importance of Chelsea FC in the Russia Ukraine War?

Chelsea is owned by Roman Abramovich who is a Russian businessman and is understood to be a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Since his takeover of the club, Abramovich has been treated fairly as a businessman and cleared most of the allegations put on him by courts. His ownership was found to be legal and hence he was allowed to run the club.

Now however as emotions are running high, people and the UK government needs a scapegoat. Our governments are often looking at shadow bans and fake gestures to keep the public from rioting and this is just one of those instances. The Russia Ukraine war has created pressure on Abramovich to sell Chelsea, a very well run club that generates jobs for thousands of people around the world.

However, until Abramovich can be directly tied to Putin no one can force him to sell the club. There are far worse owners, Saudis for example who are directly involved in slave labour and the deaths of thousands of people yet they continue to run clubs and earn from Europe.

At this point the number of rich people who have made their money as a direct result of exploitation is really high, we just choose to ignore them as they have not caught the wider public attention.

Poor treatment of Chelsea supporters

All that however is between the government and the owner of the club, the supporters do not have anything to do with it. The same goes for Russian people. Does anyone think that Russians are inherently bad because Putin invaded a country? Does the act of one person reflect the morality of every one of his countrymen? No!

And yet the narrative that Chelsea FC is owned by Abramovich and hence Putin and hence Russia somehow justifies the trolling and bullying of Chelsea fans online. Yesterday’s game between Chelsea and Liverpool for example was billed as Russia vs The West with people claiming a Liverpool win would be a win for Ukraine. Really?

People need to remember that Chelsea supporters like every club supporter are average people like us who just want to watch a football match and have a great time. It is not like Russia created the club in 2002. Chelsea FC was founded in 1905 and has had immense support since then.

Should politics be allowed in Sports?

No, politics should not be allowed in sports. There is however no way to do this. Politics is omnipresent, you cannot put a barrier around football and abstain it from politics. Sports and sportspersons have on many occasions driven social change so there is an argument for that too.

Every war however tries to teach us the same thing and yet we continue turning a blind eye towards it. The war is only profitable for the rich, everyone else loses massively. The Russia Ukraine war for example has increased Germany’s military budget from $50 billion to $162 billion in 2022. This would mean profits for weapon companies never seen before.

It has also created a divide between the west (NATO countries) and all the others who are seen as an ally of Russia, even if they remain neutral.

This will pass as all wars do but the fallout would be immense. The resources spent in fighting this war could have been used to uplift people out of poverty, for the betterment of humanity but has been sadly burnt to satisfy the ego of a few rich men.

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