Explained: What British government's sanctions on Roman Abramovich mean for Chelsea football club

Written By: Abhishek Kumar WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Mar 11, 2022, 09:02 PM(IST)

Roman Abramovich era has come to an end at Chelsea. Photograph:( AFP )

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The British government had on Thursday announced sanctions on Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich, halting the sale of the football club. Here is what the asset freeze and travel ban on Abramovich mean for Chelsea as a club.

The British government on Thursday announced sanctions on Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich while freezing his assets. Amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, several countries across the globe have imposed sanctions on the country while many sporting bodies have also banned Russian teams, athletes and staff from taking part in their tournaments.

Russia has been immense criticism from all corners as Ukraine continues to suffer in the ongoing war. Abramovich was among seven Russian billionaires sanctioned by the UK government in the wake of the Ukraine invasion. Abramovich, who is said to have close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, had taken over Chelsea in 2003 and has since made the club a force to reckon with in club football.

Chelsea have won five English Premier League titles and two Champions League titles since Abramovich took over the club, including a European triumph last year. However, the club's future is now uncertain after the UK government's sanctions on its Russian owner.

Can Chelsea continue playing?

The sanctions imposed on Abramovich could have forced Chelsea to stop running as a business and barred the club from continuing in any of the competitions that they are part of, including the English Premier League. However, the UK government has issued a special license to Chelsea to continue operations with several restrictions. So Chelsea will be allowed to play but they will be banned from several marketing activities including ticket sales, merchandise sales and players transfers among others.

Also Read: UK govt right to impose sanctions on Chelsea owner Abramovich, says Liverpool manager Klopp

A look at things Chelsea are allowed to do:

Chelsea are allowed to play matches in all competitions that they are part of. However, there can only spend up to only 500,000 pounds ($657,000) on playing each game at Stamford Bridge, including security and catering.

Only season-ticket holders are the ones who will be allowed to attend the club's remaining matches at their home stadium and away from home. The ticket sales have been prohibited.

The club will continue to receive broadcast money from their ongoing deals. However, the money will be frozen in the club's bank account and will be monitored by the UK government.

The club will continue to pay the wages to its staff and players. There are no restrictions on the wages, however, as per reports, Chelsea have laid off several staff members already.

Also ReadBritain to work with Chelsea Football Club on changes to its licence, says PM's spokesman

What are things Chelsea are not allowed to do?

No player recruitment or contract renewal of existing players. Chelsea will not be allowed to make any new signings or renew the deals of their existing players under the terms of the government license that runs till May 31 this year. This means the club might lose the services of the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Toni Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, who are all in the final year of their respective contracts.

No ticket sales. Chelsea will not be allowed to sell tickets and earn any match day revenue from their fans. Only the season-ticket holders, who have already purchased their tickets will be allowed to attend the matches both at home and in Europe till the sanction is in effect.

No merchandise sale. All Chelsea club stores have been shut down in the UK as the club has been banned from selling any merchandise under the current license. Chelsea won't be able to sell any club shirts, memorabilia or other items.

The sale of the club halted. Abramovich had listed Chelsea up for sale in the wake of outrage in the British parliament over his alleged ties with Putin. However, the British government's sanctions have handed him a huge blow in his aspirations as the club's sale has been stalled. Britain's technology minister Chris Philp on Friday said that any prospective bidders interested in taking over Chelsea should contact the British government directly.



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