Marina Granovskaia to leave Chelsea | Co-owner Todd Boehly named chairman and interim sporting director

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia will leave Chelsea; Granovskaia, who rose to prominence as one of the toughest negotiators in football during in Roman Abramovich’s reign, will remain available to support Todd Boehly for the duration of the current transfer window

Chelsea have confirmed director Marina Granovskaia will leave the club at the end of the summer transfer window, with co-controlling owner Todd Boehly named chairman and interim sporting director.

Granovskaia, who rose to prominence as one of the toughest negotiators in football during Roman Abramovich’s reign, will remain available to support Boehly for the duration of the current transfer window.

Boehly will operate as sporting director until the club names a full-time replacement.

“We thank Marina for her many years of excellent service to the club and wish her all the best in her future ventures,” Boehly said in a statement.

Chelsea confirmed chairman Bruce Buck’s departure on Monday, with Boehly replacing him in the role. Buck will continue to support the club as a senior advisor.

“I am proud to have helped Chelsea realize great success on the pitch and make a positive impact in the community,” Buck said.

Boehly added: “Bruce has led Chelsea Football Club to the highest levels of international and domestic football, while also developing one of the most active social responsibility projects in sport.

“We thank Bruce for his service and his commitment to the club.”

All the top Boehly-Clearlake Capital consortium figureheads have been added to Chelsea’s new board, as the west London club’s new era continues to gather pace.

“As custodians of Chelsea FC, we now begin executing our long-term vision and plan for the club, creating an outstanding experience for its passionate, loyal fans, and continuing to challenge for top honours in line with Chelsea FC’s dedicated history,” said Boehly.

“Working together, side by side, we are firmly committed to winning, both on and off the pitch. For us, that effort has begun.”

Clearlake chiefs and Chelsea co-controlling owners Behdad Eghbali and Jose Feliciano have also been added to the Blues’ new board.

Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Mark Walter, Swiss magnate Hansjorg Wyss and British tycoon Jonathan Goldstein have all been officially named on the Chelsea board.

Music industry supremo Barbara Charone and Tory peer and columnist Daniel Finkelstein have also been added to the board, along with Clearlake Capital partner James Pade.

“As the new era of the Boehly-Clearlake ownership begins, we are excited to build a championship organisation and grow Chelsea FC as a global platform,” said Eghbali and Feliciano.

“We look forward to backing Thomas Tuchel, Emma Hayes and their teams, and will provide proactive, unbending support to make Chelsea’s loyal fans and our partners proud.”

As acting sporting director, it is understood Boehly has been hands-on in the role already, playing a key part in the decision to let Romelu Lukaku rejoin Inter Milan on loan.

Chelsea decided to let the Belgium international depart the club following talks between Boehly and head coach Thomas Tuchel, and Boehly and the player.

Boehly and Tuchel wanted to sort out Lukaku’s future quickly so they could focus on strengthening the squad this summer.

Marina Granovskaia’s exit will be felt at Chelsea

A “quiet powerhouse” is the label one top sporting director tagged Marina Granovskaia with having heard about her negotiating prowess from a number of agents before experiencing it himself.

Roman Abramovich’s trusted lieutenant departs Chelsea, where she controlled day-to-day dealings and was their transfer chief, in what is a significant loss for the club.

The Russian-Canadian executive has been the most influential woman in the Premier League – and quite possibly European football – but is fiercely private and has never courted publicity.

Chelsea’s staggering success, powered by Abramovich’s riches, was contoured by Granovskaia’s decisions. She pulled the strings when the club moved to their Cobham training complex, which opened in 2007 and was even instructive in the lucrative long-term sponsorship deal secured with Nike.

Granovskaia was key to building the relationship with Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem which has acted as a development hub for Chelsea’s talented youngsters.

Her ability to drive a hard deal can be spotted in the Stamford Bridge side’s sales – Real Madrid agreed to pay as much as £130 million, including bonuses, for Eden Hazard in the final year of his contract – and in their status as league leaders in profits from outgoings.

Chelsea fixtures: Lampard’s Everton first up, then Spurs

Chelsea kick-off their 2022/23 season with a trip to Frank Lampard’s Everton live on Sky Sports before hosting London rivals Spurs in their first home game.

Thomas Tuchel’s side face a reunion with Blues legend Lampard at Goodison Park on August 6, kick-off 5.30pm, before Tottenham visit Stamford Bridge a week later.

Chelsea will host Liverpool in West London on September 17, Manchester United on October 22 and Arsenal on November 5.

Their final fixture before the month-long break for the World Cup is away at Newcastle, and they continue their campaign on Boxing Day against newly-promoted Bournemouth.

Chelsea travel to Tottenham on February 25 and Arsenal on April 29, with the latter the start of a bumper last five games including Manchester City away on the penultimate weekend of the season and Newcastle at home on the final day.

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