U.K.’s Premier League bans Abramovich from running Chelsea
Roman Abramovich has been disqualified as a Chelsea director by the Premier League board after the British government sanctioned the Russian billionaire.
Chelsea owner Abramovich, a Russian-Israeli oligarch, was one of seven more oligarchs sanctioned this week by the UK following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The European champions have been placed under tough restrictions due to the sanctions on Abramovich.
Chelsea is unable to sign players, renew contracts or sell tickets to matches, with limits on the amount of money they are allowed to spend on travel to away games.
Now Premier League chiefs have taken action against Abramovich, who is described by the government as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle despite his denials of any association.
“Following the imposition of sanctions by the UK Government, the Premier League board has disqualified Roman Abramovich as a director of Chelsea Football Club,” a Premier League statement said on Saturday.
“The board’s decision does not impact on the club’s ability to train and play its fixtures, as set out under the terms of a license issued by the Government, which expires on May 31, 2022.”
Abramovich had already announced his intention to sell Chelsea, with a host of potential buyers declaring their interest in a club that has won 19 major trophies since he bought the side in 2003.
The government is still open to a sale, but would have to approve a new license, on the proviso no profit would go to the Russian, who has bankrolled the club to the tune of around £1.5 billion ($2 billion).
Chelsea is already feeling the impact of the sanctions, with shirt sponsor Three suspending its £40 million deal.
The club’s official training wear partner Trivago said Friday that it was sticking with Chelsea despite the “challenging” situation.
The billionaire is one of Russia’s highest-profile oligarchs and has been highlighted in the past for links to Putin, who is being ostracized globally for launching the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
The UK government has estimated Abramovich’s net worth at £9.4 billion ($12.2 billion).
The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum announced on Thursday that it will suspend ties with Abramovich following the new sanctions.
“In light of recent developments, Yad Vashem has decided to suspend the strategic partnership with Mr. Roman Abramovich,” the museum said in a statement.
Abramovich is a major donor to causes in Israel.