Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has become an Israeli citizen, after rumours that his UK investment visa may not be renewed.
After purchasing Chelsea in 2003, the controversial businessman has cemented his status as one of the richest men in the UK. While he transformed the Blues into one of the best club’s in England, the feelings towards him from fans has been mixed.
He is known for having extremely high expectations of managers and this is epitomised in the way that Antonio Conte is currently being treated. Conte led the club to the Premier League title during the 2016-17 season as the club dominated the competition. However, while the Blues did secure an FA Cup triumph this term, their league form was sub-par, and the Italian is still expected to be sacked.
According to reports, Abramovich has been having trouble getting his UK Visa renewed. The British government has declined to comment on the case.
It has been reported that Abramovich, who is Jewish, travelled to Tel Aviv on Monday and received documents which would make him a citizen of Israel. The country grants citizenship to any Jew in the world who may wish to live there, and a passport can be issued on the spot.
Those with Israeli citizenship are permitted to enter the UK without a visa for short trips, although they do require the documentation for longer visits.
Abramovich is a regular visitor to Israel and has also donated millions in order to aid Israeli research and development projects, as well as contributing towards investment in local firms.
Relations between Russia and the UK have declined since former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in March. It is believed that the UK government would have required more stringent disclosures from Abramovich if they were to renew his visa.