Roman Abramovic
Roman Abramovich was forced to sell Premier League club Chelsea after Russia's invasion of Ukraine Photo: AFP / Ben STANSALL

The Football Association is finally ready to proceed with a £1million donation to Ukrainian charities. The funds were gathered from Chelsea FC's gate receipts from their FA Cup semi-final match against Crystal Palace which was played on Aril 17, 2022.

It has now been a year since former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. At that time, Abramovich was forced to sell the club while pledging to donate the proceeds to humanitarian charities that are focused on helping displaced Ukrainian citizens.

Needless to say, the progress has been very slow when it comes to appropriating the funds that were generated from the sale of the club. It may be remembered that when the UK decided to freeze assets of Russian oligarchs and Russian companies with close ties to President Vladimir Putin last year, Abramovich was put on the spotlight.

The former Chelsea owner is well-known for having taken on the club as his passion project. He has owned the club since 2003, but was forced to put it up for sale after facing sanctions.

After a short bidding war with other interested consortiums, American businessman Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital successfully purchased the football club for £4.25 billion and £2.3 billion of that money is also meant to be donated to Ukrainians.

While the proceeds were pledged to go to charity, that cash is still sitting in a frozen bank account. Now, the Daily Mail reports that the English FA is finally making the first steps into donating Chelsea's money to the Ukrainian people who desperately need it.

The anniversary of the invasion has passed, but the conflict is showing no signs of letting up. The FA has reportedly identified a number of organisations which are working on the ground in Ukraine as the beneficiaries of the first wave of donations.

The FA held on to the proceeds of Chelsea's semi-final win over Crystal Palace for nearly a year before it is finally ready to reach Ukraine. However, revenue from Chelsea's defeat in the FA Cup final at the hands of Liverpool is not part of the money that will go to charity.

The gate receipts are kept by the governing body and most of it is typically redistributed in the form of prize money for the competition.

Furthermore, there is still no word about the status of the money that was generated from the sale of the club itself. It is reportedly embroiled in legal issues and bureaucracy between the UK government and the European Union. It may be remembered that Abramovich was allowed to sell the club under the condition that the government, under Boris Johnson at the time, will oversee the sale and the donation of the proceeds.

So far, the money has not reached Ukrainians. Instead, a number of high profile executives have been appointed to handle the donations. Leading the foundation is Mike Penrose, a Unicef UK chief executive. He is joined by interim chairman of the foundation Jan Egeland, who is a senior Norwegian diplomat and a former United Nations special advisor.

Meanwhile, Chelsea FC is facing a crisis on the pitch. Since Abramovich took over the club, Chelsea won 21 titles including five Premier League and five FA Cup trophies. They also won the League Cup three times and the UEFA Champions League twice. Now a year since the sale, they are sitting in tenth place in the Premier League table, miles away from the European spots.

After enduring a difficult time domestically, Chelsea have at least made it to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League after defeating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 on aggregate earlier this week.