The government of the United Kingdom has banned the owner of Chelsea football club, Roman Abramovich from having anything to do with the UK.
This means that all his assets and everything linked to the Russian billionaire in the country have been frozen. But Chelsea have been given a special license to continue restricted operation.
Recall that since Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine on February 24, there have been speculations that Roman Abramovich would be sanctioned by the UK government due to his alleged ties with Putin.
The speculations allegedly prompted Roman Abramovich to start putting up some of his assets in the UK including his £125million mansion near Kensington Palace, London, for sale.
Initially, Abramovich directed Chelsea’s charitable foundation to take over the running of the Premier League club pending the end of the ongoing bombardment of Ukraine by Russian troops. Many critics believed that the Russian billionaire wanted to use the foundation as a shield over the club amid pending sanctions.
When the plan did not work, Roman Abramovich decided to put the club up for sale for three billion pounds. He gave interested buyers until March 15 to submit their bids.
Unfortunately, with the sanctions the UK government slammed on him, Abramovich does no longer has the right to sell Chelsea or any other asset of his in the UK.
Based on the sanctions against him, the Russian billionaire can no longer do business with a UK citizen, group, or organization. He can not also travel to the UK.
A series of tweets from Nadine Dorries, the minister for Sport and Culture, read: “I know this brings some uncertainty, but the Government will work with the league & clubs to keep football being played while ensuring sanctions-hit those intended. Football clubs are cultural assets and the bedrock of our communities. We’re committed to protecting them.”
1/ 4🧵Putin’s attack on Ukraine continues & we are witnessing new levels of evil by the hour. Today the Government has announced further sanctions against individuals linked to the Russian Government. This list includes Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club.— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) March 10, 2022
3/4 To ensure the club can continue to compete and operate we are issuing a special licence that will allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches while, crucially, depriving Abramovich of benefiting from his ownership of the club— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) March 10, 2022
What do the sanctions slammed on Roman Abramovich mean to Chelsea?
The most direct effect the sanctions slammed on Roman Abramovich by the UK government have on Chelsea is that the Premier League club is no longer owned by the Russian billionaire.
The UK government and some selected stakeholders at Chelsea are expected to meet later today, Thursday, March 10, 2022, to discuss ownership and control of the club.
However, in the absence of Roman Abramovich, Chelsea now has a special license that permits them to operate.
This means that Chelsea will continue to participate in all the football competitions they are involved in. Their sponsorships deal with the companies not affiliated with Russia and Abramovich will continue to run.
Football fans who are holders of Chelsea’s season tickets will continue to have access to Chelsea’s games. But the club would not be able to sell tickets for the main time.
A statement from the UK government read: “Given the significant impact that today’s sanctions would have on Chelsea football club and the potential knock-on effects of this, the Government has this morning published a license which authorizes several football-related activities to continue at Chelsea.
“This includes permissions for the club to continue playing matches and other football-related activity which will, in turn, protect the Premier League, the wider football pyramid, loyal fans, and other clubs. This license will only allow certain explicitly named actions to ensure the designated individual is not able to circumvent UK sanctions. The license will be kept under constant review and we will work closely with the football authorities.”