Roman Abramovich, Chelsea FC’s owner, has been sanctioned by the UK Government, meaning he can no longer sell or invest in the Premier League club.
As a result of the decision against the Russian oligarch, who had revealed last week that he was planning to sell the club, Chelsea now faces a transfer embargo, meaning that new loans and permanent deals are banned but existing loans and transfers can still be paid.
The government released a statement regarding Russian deals, which read: “This association has included obtaining a financial benefit or other material benefit from Putin and the Government of Russia.
“This includes tax breaks received by companies linked to Abramovich, buying and selling shares from and to the state at favourable rates, and the contracts received in the run-up to the 2018 World Cup. Therefore, Abramovich has received preferential treatment and concessions from Putin and the government of Russia.”
Abramovich has denied any links to Vladimir Putin or the Russian state in his defence, claiming that he has not done anything to deserve the sanction.
Yet, the government document stated that Abramovich once had a ‘close relationship for decades’ with the Russian President, meaning Chelsea are now faced with an uncertain future.
Chelsea FC has today noted: “By virtue of his 100 per cent ownership of Chelsea FC plc and affiliated entities, Chelsea FC would normally be subject to the same sanctions regime as Mr Abramovich. However, the UK Government has issued a general licence that permits Chelsea FC to continue certain activities.
‘We will fulfil our men’s and women’s team fixtures today against Norwich and West Ham, respectively, and intend to engage in discussions with the UK Government regarding the scope of the licence. This will include seeking permission for the licence to be amended in order to allow the Club to operate as normal as possible. We will also be seeking guidance from the UK Government on the impact of these measures on the Chelsea Foundation and its important work in our communities.”
Furthermore, broadcast and prize money can still be received but will be frozen, whilst merchandising sales may continue but they are not to go to Chelsea. The club is also limited to £20,000 travel expenses each match, and £500,000 for security.
There is also no ticket sales, only existing season ticket holders and existing ticket holders can attend matches, whilst there is to be no work done on developing the Stamford Bridge stadium.
Moreover, it has also been reported that the team’s shirt sponsor, Three, has stated that it is reviewing the situation and are in discussions with Chelsea about the future of the deal. The UK mobile company has previously shown its support for Ukraine in providing free calls and texts to the country.
The UK is the first nation to sanction Abramovich, and the country continues to condemn the invasion by implementing the same decision against a further seven Russian oligarchs this week, whilst the government has, overall, sanctioned around 200 individuals/groups.