Roman Abramovich thwarted in attempt to fly African porters to London for a Chelsea game Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club, attempted to reward African porters who helped him on his failed attempt to climb Mount Kilimajaro by flying them to London to watch a Chelsea game only to be thwarted by red tape. Roman Abramovich, the oligarch and owner of Chelsea football club, is not best known for his acts of kindness. But after attempting and failing to climb Kilimanjaro last year, he was so grateful to the team of African porters who helped him down from the mountain, he offered to pay them back in style. As well as the usual tips, Mr Abramovich vowed to fly ten local men to London to see a Chelsea match at Stamford Bridge. What the Russian billionaire did not count on were the sticklers at the British High Commission in Tanzania. After a year-long battle, UK authorities have refused to grant the porters with visas. Fed up with the red tape, Mr Abramovich flew the men to Moscow instead to see a game there. Last September, Mr Abramovich and six friends attempted to climb Kilimanjaro, which at 19,330ft is the highest mountain in Africa. But at 15,100ft and with Mr Abramovich, 44, suffering breathing problems because of the altitude, the party turned back. They struck up a bond with their porters however and with English football in common, Mr Abramovich pledged to bring the men to London to see a Chelsea game. A month after the failed exhibition, Mr Abramovich's right hand man Eugene Tenenbaum wrote to British officials in Tanzania, requesting the men be granted visas for a trip last December to London. Mr Tenenbaum wrote: "Chelsea Football Club is writing to ask for your assistance in issuing UK visas for a group of Tanzanian nationals to visit the United Kingdom ... Chelsea Football Club will pay for the return air tickets and accommodation for the listed persons as well as provide a chaperone for them for the whole duration of their stay." The High Commission in Dar es Salaam would not issue them visas, prompting Abramovich to try again in August. This time Mr Abramovich requested the men be given permission to see the game played against Sunderland on November 14 this season - which the Londoners lost 3-0. Again the High Commission turned down the application fearing the men would disappear in the UK and not return home. Alexander Lemunge, the owner of East African Voyages Ltd and the lead porter on Mr Abramovich's expedition, told how pleased the guides were with the Russian's offer and how disappointed they had been by the refusal of the British to let them in. Mr Lemunge said: "I received this invitation with a happy heart. It is unbelievable to see one of the most famous people on earth inviting us to the UK. "He is very appreciative. It was so generous of Mr Abramovich. The men were so disappointed we couldn't come to London. "They filled out all the forms, waited patiently and then were told they couldn't have visas." Mr Abramovich was unavailable for comment. The Foreign Office did not comment.