Britain’s government on Thursday imposed unprecedented restrictions on Chelsea’s ability to operate following sanctions on its owner, Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich.
Abramovich was one of seven Russian millionaires whose assets were frozen by British authorities. This cripples his ability to sell Chelsea, as he announced last week following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The west London club’s operations, such as ticket sales and player signings, were immediately restricted. The merchandise store at the Stamford Bridge stadium had to close and hung a sign informing that “it is due to the recent government announcement”.
These are unprecedented measures imposed against an English Premier League club. They imply that Chelsea will only be able to operate under a special license on “Russian regulations”, valid until May 31, to guarantee that the club can continue playing and that its workers are paid.
The measures hamper Abramovich’s hasty plan to sell the club. However, Chelsea will be able to continue playing, including the away game against Norwich on Thursday night.
Chelsea said that “will request permission for the license to be reviewed in order for the club to operate as normally as possible”.
The Premier League reported that it works with Chelsea and the authorities “to ensure that the season continues as planned and in accordance with the intention of the government”.
The club was put up for sale last week as calls for sanctions intensified due to its close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. Abramovich said proceeds from the sale would go to a foundation he created to benefit war victims.
The government described Abramovich as a “pro-Kremlin oligarch” with a net worth of more than 9 billion pounds ($12 billion) and should be sanctioned for his links to Putin. Abramovich was also linked with “destabilize”, undermine and threaten Ukraine.
Is about “deprive Abramovich of club owner benefitsCulture Secretary Nadine Dorries tweeted.
“I know there is some uncertainty with this, but the government will work with the league and the clubs to keep football playing while ensuring that sanctions go where they belong.Dorries said. “Soccer teams are cultural assets and the foundation of our communities. We are committed to their protection.”
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