Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich has assets frozen by Britain

A plan to sell Chelsea FC, one of Europe’s leading football teams, was effectively blocked by the British government on Thursday when it...


A plan to sell Chelsea FC, one of Europe’s leading football teams, was effectively blocked by the British government on Thursday when it froze the assets of the club’s owner Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich, as part of a a broader set of sanctions. announcement against a group of wealthy Russian businessmen.

The government, in announcing its actions against Abramovich and six other Russian oligarchs, said it had already taken steps to ensure Chelsea would be able to continue operations and complete their schedule. To protect the club’s interests, the government has said, it has issued Chelsea a license which will allow them to continue their football-related activities, including a Premier League match at Norwich City on Thursday night.

The license, which the government says will be under ‘constant review’, will ensure that players and team staff will continue to be paid; that fans who already have subscriptions can continue to attend matches; and that the integrity of the Premier League, which is considered an important cultural asset and one of Britain’s most prominent exports, will not be affected.

But to ensure that no money flows to Abramovich, the club will no longer be able to sell new tickets for any matches or sell merchandise online or in its stores. And its business and day-to-day operations can be seriously complicated, affecting everything from travel to sponsorship deals to the team’s ability to buy and sell players in the multi-billion dollar commercial player market.

At Chelsea on Thursday morning, staff members would struggle to come to terms with what the UK government’s actions would mean. Other club officials, including Chelsea’s German coach Thomas Tuchel and Abramovich’s chief lieutenant Marina Granovskaia, were trying to figure out what they could and could not do.

At the team’s Stamford Bridge stadium, security officials closed the team store and prevented visitors from entering the pitch. Elsewhere, the team’s shirt sponsor, telecommunications company Three, said it was “reviewing our position”.

Abramovich’s asset freeze could prevent him from following through on his previously announced plans to sell Chelsea. Under the new sanctions, the UK government will now have full oversight of this process. The effect would be to significantly lower any proposed sale price, but it could completely block a sale as the government is unlikely to allow such a large transfer of money – Abramovich is said to have asked for more than $2bn for Chelsea – d to be paid to an owner under sanctions.

“Given the significant impact that today’s sanctions would have on Chelsea Football Club and the potential repercussions of this, the Government this morning issued a license which allows a number of football-related activities at Chelsea,” the UK government said. in his statement announcing the freezing of Abramovich’s assets. “This includes permissions for the club to continue to play matches and other football-related activities, which will in turn protect the Premier League, the wider football pyramid, loyal supporters and other clubs. This license will only allow certain explicitly named actions to ensure that the named person is not able to circumvent UK sanctions.

The government later released an information sheet on what sanctions against Abramovich would mean for the team and its fans. Among his chips:

  • Chelsea are authorized to incur and pay “such reasonable costs as may be necessary for the club to organize fixtures at its grounds”, including for security, stewards and catering.

  • Players, coaches and other team personnel can continue to receive their salaries, but there will be spending limits for home and away travel, and these expenses will only be available “for players and essential personnel”. In practical terms, this could mean less luxurious flights and hotels when traveling for Premier League and Champions League matches.

  • Fans who already have tickets for Chelsea matches, including season ticket holders, will be allowed to attend and purchase refreshments. But no new tickets can be sold.

  • Broadcasters are allowed to show Chelsea games and pay TV revenue to the club. But that money will now be subject to government oversight under the team’s license.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich has assets frozen by Britain
Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich has assets frozen by Britain
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