The Russian owner has come under increasing pressure to part company with the club due to his association with Vladimir Putin and the invasion of Ukraine.
Crucially, the billionaire oligarch confirmed he will not ask the club to repay him the £1.5bn he has loaned them during his 19-year ownership.
“I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC,” a statement read.
“As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the Club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners.”
Abramovich added that net proceeds from the sale will be donated to charitable foundation set up to “benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.”
Abramovich’s announcement comes after increasing calls for the UK government to impose sanctions on him along with other Russian oligarchs.
While he has not been sanctioned, MP Chris Bryant claimed on Tuesday that he was selling up his property portfolio in London.
Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss claimed he was offered the chance to buy the European champions, but the asking price was too high.
It has since emerged that US billionaire Todd Boehly has already had a bid rejected in recent weeks, but he is expected to Wyss to make a fresh offer.
“The sale of the Club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process,” the statement continued. “I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid. This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and Club.
“Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.
“Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the Club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the Club.
“I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person. It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart.”
Abramovich has already made a stalled attempt to hand over stewardship to the trustees of the club’s charitable foundation, which prompted a “serious incident” to be reported to the Charity Commission.
The 55-year-old’s 11.5bn personal fortune has taken a hit of at least £1.5bn in the week since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, analysis of publicly available data suggests.
Wyss claimed in an interview with Swiss newspaper Blick that Abramovich was trying to sell off a host of assets, Chelsea included.
He said: “Like all other oligarchs, he is also panicking.
“Abramovich is currently trying to sell all his villas in England. He also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly. I received an offer with three other people on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich.”
He added: “I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is currently demanding far too much.
“You know: Chelsea is in his chalk with two billion pounds. But Chelsea has no money. Means: Those who buy Chelsea should compensate Abramovich.
“As of today, we do not yet know the exact selling price. I can well imagine joining Chelsea with partners. But I must first carefully examine the framework conditions.
“But what I can already say: I certainly don’t do something like that alone. If I buy Chelsea, it is with a consortium of six to seven investors.”
Boehly is part owner of the LA Dodgers, but saw his bid rejected because it fell below Abramovich’s reported valuation of $3bn.