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Chelsea Owner Abramovich Misses FA Cup Final 'Due To Visa Issues'


Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (right) celebrates the team winning the English Premier League soccer trophy with his wife, Irina (left), and their son at Stamford Bridge in London in May 2007.

Russian billionaire and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich did not attend the team's FA Cup final game because his U.K. visa expired and has not been renewed, according to British and Russian media reports.

A spokesman for Abramovich, 51, told several media outlets including TASS on May 20 that he could not comment on the reports because the visa issue was "personal."

The Bell website quoted an acquaintance of Abramovich and two members of his inner circle as saying the billionaire's British visa ran out three weeks ago and that he was waiting for a new one.

Some British officials have called for sanctions aimed at hurting super-rich Russians living in the U.K. in the wake of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, and his daughter in March.

Both had been hospitalized in critical condition after the first known offensive use of such a nerve agent on European soil since World War II -- an attack that Britain blames on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government. Both have since been discharged from the hospital.

Russia denies any involvement in the incident.

Abramovich, who made his fortune in oil and natural gas in the 1990s, formally has residency in the tax haven Jersey in the Channel Islands, though he has never taken it up. He has previously applied for a British passport, but has not received one.

He is currently ranked No. 140 on Forbes Billionaires List, with a reported $11.6 billion in assets. He has owned Chelsea Football Club since 2003.

Chlesea won the FA Cup final against Manchester United 1-0.

With reporting by TASS, AFP, and the BBC
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