Chelsea are set for dark times ahead as owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government.
According to The Times journalist Steven Swinford, the UK government has finally sanctioned Roman Abramovich due to his close ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Along with Abramovich, the government has sanctioned several Russian oligarchs, including Oleg Deripaska and Igor Sechin.
Chelsea have been granted a special license to continue with their football-related activities, but the authority has effectively barred the sale of the club, a little after a week since Abramovich announced his decision to sell the club amid fears of being sanctioned, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The UK government has listed ties with Putin and gaining financial benefits such as tax breaks for his companies as primary reasons to sanction Abramovich, who had acquired Chelsea Football Club back in 2003.
Under the Russian oligarch, the Blues enjoyed a quick rise to prominence, establishing themselves as one of the biggest clubs in Europe. They even won 21 trophies during this period, including the UEFA Champions League in 2021.
Official sanction listing for Roman Abramovich:
– Close personal relationship with Putin for decades involving preferential treatment
– Financial benefits, including tax breaks for his companies, buying & selling shares at favourable rates and contracts in run up to World Cup
— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) March 10, 2022
Last month, Abramovich announced his decision to sell Chelsea while effectively cancelling the debt the club had owed him. He wanted to sell the club immediately amid interest from Turkish billionaire Muhsin Bayrak and the Swiss-American consortium of Hansjorg Wyss and Todd Boehly, who lodged their bid this week.
However, Abramovich’s sanction means the Russian has been barred from selling Chelsea or any other assets, which have been seized by the government. It effectively means the Blues cannot sanction a takeover until further notice, thus placing the club in a difficult situation.
The situation is even dire for Abramovich, who may not even earn a penny from the sale of Chelsea, including the massive debt the club had owed him. According to Swinford, the government would need to provide a special designation for the sale of CFC, which is likely to be a protracted process.
As part of the sanctions, Chelsea FC itself has been restricted, with only season-ticket holders being momentarily allowed to attend games. While the club can pay its staff and players, including the security members, medical team and stewards, the board has been barred from conducting any other action, most likely including any activity in the transfer market.