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Marina Granovskaia set to leave Chelsea following Bruce Buck exit



Granovskaia was a major figure under previous owner Roman Abramovich and led the club’s transfer negotiations

Exclusive: Marina Granovskaia to leave Chelsea following Bruce Buck exit
Chelsea are undergoing a summer of significant upheaval
Marina Granovskaia is set to become the next big-name exit at Chelsea after the club confirmed Bruce Buck has agreed to stand down as chairman.

Buck will give up his role, which co-owner Todd Boehly is in line to fill, at the end of this month, and Telegraph Sports understands Granovskaia is in line to follow.

Should her departure be confirmed before the transfer window closes, as some sources believe is now likely to be the case, Boehly will not only take on the chairmanship, but also take over transfer negotiations which Granovskaia had been in charge of during the reign of previous owner Roman Abramovich.

Boehly has been negotiating Romelu Lukaku’s return to Inter Milan, having already given head coach Thomas Tuchel greater power in terms of Chelsea’s transfer business and contracts.

Chelsea’s new Boehly-Clearlake owners will almost certainly have to appoint a new sporting director, having already been linked with Atletico Madrid’s Andrea Berta, but until then Boehly and Tuchel will take on the bulk of the responsibility left behind by Granovskaia.

Granovskaia’s exit will further underline the enormous operational change at Chelsea since the Boehly-Clearlake takeover was formally completed less than a month ago, with the chief executive, Guy Laurence and now Buck and Granovskaia following Abramovich out of the door.

Buck and Granovskaia each earned bonuses for the roles they played in the sale of Chelsea, although, as revealed by Telegraph Sport, it emerged the Boehly-Clearlake consortium held back over £100million from the agreed price over potential liabilities they could be hit with.

The departure of Granovskaia will place a question mark over the future of Petr Cech, Chelsea’s technical and performance advisor, who had also been working closely with Tuchel over football matters and transfers.

Cech was appointed to his current position by Granovskaia and was asked to continue by the new owners, but the former goalkeeper must now decide whether or not he will want to continue.

Granovskaia had effectively run Chelsea for Abramovich over recent years, having, according to the club’s website, “acted as a representative of the owner at the club and in support of the board of directors” since 2010.

A Russian-Canadian, who graduated from Moscow State University and started work for Abramovich in 1997 at Sibneft, the oil company he then owned, Granovskaia moved to England shortly after Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003.

She joined the Chelsea FC plc and football club boards in 2013 and took charge of player transfers and contracts, and last year was awarded ‘Best Club Director in European football’ at the Italian-run Golden Boy awards.

Chelsea are yet to confirm Granovskaia’s future with the Boehly-Clearlake consortium still to announce the exact make-up of the club’s new board.

But the departure of Buck, who has been chairman since 2003, was announced in a Chelsea statement that read: “Chelsea Football Club today announced that Bruce Buck, who has served as Chairman since 2003, will be stepping down from his role effective 30 June. He will continue to support the Club as a Senior Advisor.

“During Buck’s chairmanship, Chelsea solidified its position as one of the world’s elite football clubs and a globally recognised brand followed by millions. In that time, the men’s team earned 18 major trophies (more than any other English club) while Chelsea FC Women won 12 major trophies.

“The club also grew its commercial revenues significantly, established world class training facilities at Cobham, and developed one of the best youth academies in football. In 2010, Buck, as Trustee and Chairman, helped establish The Chelsea FC Foundation, which supports a broad range of initiatives including increasing access to youth athletics, hosting education and employment programmes, and leading anti-discrimination campaigns.”

Buck had become a polarising figure at Chelsea, following a number of decisions that backfired which supporters attributed to him. The 76-year-old was largely blamed for the club’s involvement in the botched European Super League.

More recently, Buck received more heavy criticism after Chelsea were forced to backtrack on a request to play an FA Cup game against Middlesbrough behind closed doors because the sanctions imposed on Abramovich meant Chelsea fans could not buy tickets.

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

“Now is the right time to step down and let new ownership build on the strong foundations we have in place. The owners have a compelling vision for Chelsea’s future, and I look forward to helping them achieve it in this new role alongside our incredible staff, players, coaches and supporters.

“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

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