Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government – meaning he is now unable to sell the club.
Abramovich has had “his assets frozen, a prohibition on transactions with UK individuals and businesses, a travel ban and transport sanctions” imposed on him. There is now doubt as to whether he will be able to sell the club due to the restrictions he is under.
The government have granted Chelsea a special license to allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches. It is unclear if the license covers just Chelsea’s first team or all teams, including the women’s and junior sides.
Nadine Dorries, the minister for Sport and Culture, has tweeted: “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.”
A government statement said: “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 licence which authorises a number of 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 licence will only allow certain explicitly named actions to ensure the designated individual is not able to circumvent UK sanctions. The licence will be kept under constant review and we will work closely with the football authorities.”
A Chelsea Supporters’ Trust Spokesperson said: “The CST notes with concern the Government’s statement regarding the owner. Supporters must be involved in any conversation regarding ongoing impacts on the club and its global fan base.
“The CST implores the Government to conduct a swift process to minimise the uncertainty over Chelsea’s future, for supporters and for supporters to be given a golden share as part of a sale of the club.”
Abramovich has been sanctioned along with six of Russia’s wealthiest and most influential oligarchs, whose business empires, wealth and connections are closely associated with Vladimir Putin’s regime. They have a net worth of £15bn.
Those sanctioned are:
- Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea FC and has stakes in steel giant Evraz and Norilsk Nickel
- Oleg Deripaska has stakes in En+ Group
- Igor Sechin is the chief executive of Rosneft
- Andrey Kostin is chairman of VTB bank
- Alexei Miller is CEO of energy company Gazprom
- Nikolai Tokarev is president of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft
- Dmitri Lebedev is chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank Rossiya
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “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.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “Today’s sanctions show once again that oligarchs and kleptocrats have no place in our economy or society. With their close links to Putin they are complicit in his aggression.
“The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands. They should hang their heads in shame.
“Our support for Ukraine will not waver. We will not stop in this mission to ramp up the pressure on the Putin regime and choke off funds to his brutal war machine.
So in short, based on this freezing order, no he can’t sell the club. Now if the government is prepared to give a special licence in relation to the operation of the club, then the question is whether they would then give another special license in relation to the sale of the club.
But based on the terms of this freezing order, no he can’t.
Kindly submit your news stories to firstname.lastname@example.org