What Abramovich sanction means for Chelsea: Transfer and contract ban, no more ticket sales, club shop closed
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government, placing the club’s future under threat.
The Russian-Israeli billionaire has owned Chelsea since 2003, but he put the club up for sale last week amid the threat of being sanctioned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The government’s ‘oligarch taskforce’ has set about targeting those with links to the Kremlin and has sanctioned Abramovich due to his ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin, as well as his stake in the company Evraz PLC, which has been “potentially supplying steel to the Russian military which may have been used in the production of tanks”.
The government’s sanction paper explained: “Abramovich is associated with a person who is/has been involved in destabilising Ukraine & undermining/threatening territorial integrity, sovereignty & independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin, with whom (he) has had close relationship for decades.”
The prime minister, Boris Johnson, added: “There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine. Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people. We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies.”
What does this mean for Chelsea?
Abramovich’s UK assets have been frozen, meaning he cannot sell Chelsea. The government will strive to ensure he cannot make any more money from the club.
Chelsea have been given special dispensation to continue operation due to the club’s important role in sport and society. Players and staff will continue to be paid, but the club cannot now sell additional tickets to those already sold.
The club can continue to spend money on travel to training and matches, up to £20,000 per game. The club’s merchandise shop will be closed but stadium catering can continue as well as the hire of security and stewarding, up to a total cost of £500,000 per fixture.
Chelsea will still be able to receive money from existing Premier League TV deals, which will enable the club to pay its staff, but all incoming money will be frozen so that it cannot be withdrawn from the club.