U.K. sanctions Roman Abramovich,Freezes Assets, stops club sale and ticket sales of Chelsea FC
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who is in the process of trying to sell the club, has been officially sanctioned by the British government as they take action against Russian Oligarchs
The British government has officially added Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to the list of sanctioned individuals.
Chelsea have been given a sporting licence to continue trading whilst Abramovich’s assets have been frozen, but he will now be blocked from selling the club.
Abramovich, who purchased Chelsea back in 2003, announced he was looking to sell in a statement on March 2 in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Various interested parties have since come forward with up to 10 serious buyers putting themselves in the mix.
However, the measures put in place now block a sale – and the club are also set to be impacted in numerous ways, including being unable to sell tickets with only season ticket holders able to attend games.
A government statement confirmed: “Given the significant impact that today’s sanctions would have on Chelsea football club and the potential knock on effects of this, the Government has this morning published a licence which authorises a number of football-related activities to continue at Chelsea.
“This includes permissions for the club to continue playing matches and other football related activity which will in turn protect the Premier League, the wider football pyramid, loyal fans and other clubs.
“This licence will only allow certain explicitly named actions to ensure the designated individual is not able to circumvent UK sanctions.
“The licence will be kept under constant review and we will work closely with the football authorities.”
Nadine Dorries, UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport confirmed on social media: “To ensure the club can continue to compete and operate we are issuing a special licence that will allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches while, crucially, depriving Abramovich of benefiting from his ownership of the club.
“I know this brings some uncertainty, but the Government will work with the league & clubs to keep football being played while ensuring sanctions hit those intended. Football clubs are cultural assets and the bedrock of our communities. We’re committed to protecting them.”
Abramovich is amongst seven more Russian businesspeople to be hit by sanctions by the UK government in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The government sanctions list claims: “Abramovich is associated with a person who is/has been involved in destabilising Ukraine & undermining/threatening territorial integrity, sovereignty & independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin, with whom (he) has had close relationship for decades.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of the sanctions: “There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine.
“Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people.
“We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss added: “Today’s sanctions show once again that oligarchs and kleptocrats have no place in our economy or society. With their close links to Putin they are complicit in his aggression.
“The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands. They should hang their heads in shame.
“Our support for Ukraine will not waver. We will not stop in this mission to ramp up the pressure on the Putin regime and choke off funds to his brutal war machine.”
The other six Russian oligarchs who have been sanctioned by the UK government on Thursday are:
• Oleg Deripaska, who has stakes in En+ Group – a major extractives and energy company
• Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft – a Russian state oil company
• Andrey Kostin, chairman of VTB bank – the second largest bank in Russia
• Alexei Miller, CEO of energy company Gazprom
• Nikolai Tokarev, president of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft
• Dmitri Lebedev, chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank Rossiya – widely considered to be The Kremlin’s private bank
The seven latest individuals to be sanctioned have a collective net worth of around £15bn.
The government has now sanctioned over 200 individuals and entities.