Ken Bates has announced that he has stepped down as chairman of Chelsea FC.
The 72-year-old announced an end to his 22 years at the club in a statement tonight, which read: "Ken Bates is no longer chairman of Chelsea Football Club as of 10.30pm [GMT]." Bates also announced his intention to make a "clean break" with the English club, who lead Bundesliga team VfB Stuttgart 1-0 going into the second leg of their UEFA Champions League first knockout-round tie next week.
Bates bought Chelsea in 1982 and was the club's owner until last summer, when Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich stepped in, with Peter Kenyon later joining as chief executive. Abramovich's takeover led to an unprecedented spending spree, with more than €150m invested in new players.
Under his chairmanship, Bates was largely responsible for rejuvenating the club and oversaw a period of success that included the 1998 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, FA Cups in 1997 and 2000 and the English League Cup in 1998.
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