Chelsea have been granted a special licence to operate on footballing grounds after the UK government passed sanctions on its owner, Roman Abramovich.
The British government officially added Abramovich to its list of sanctioned individuals on Thursday morning.
The Russian oligarch, who has owned the west London club for almost two decades, announced that he was looking for potential buyers of the club in a statement on March 2.
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New measures have halted any potential sale. However Nadine Dorries, UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said on Twitter that the club can operate and compete under a special licence from the Treasury, allowing fixtures to be fulfilled and club staff to be paid.
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."
How long is the licence valid for?
Chelsea will now have to operate under this general licence for the foreseeable future, with it set to expire on May 31.
What does the licence cover?
Under the licence, Chelsea are allowed to continue to pay all employees at the club, including those on the coaching staff and players.
The licence allows for costs of maintenance to be covered, including taxes, insurance, ongoing maintenance and inspection to make sure its buildings and facilities are safe. But it does not cover any money being spent on new building projects or refurbishment.
The club will be allowed to cover the cost of match days, with the cost of travel to and from fixtures falling under the new licence. Up to half a million pounds will be allowed per home games, covering the costs of security, catering and stewarding at Stamford Bridge and Kingsmeadow, where Chelsea Women are based.
The club can also pay fees and dividends to its directors, but not to Abramovich.
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Big names set to leave the club?
While the licence allows for ‘inter-club payments’ for any contracts and agreements that were made before 10 March, it will not allow for contracts to be renewed or new contacts drawn up. The licence expires on May 31.
This means some key players look set to leave in the summer.
Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, and central defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen all have contracts that are due to end on 30 June this year.
Central midfielder Saúl Ñíguez, who is on loan from Atletico Madrid, will be likely to join the exodus as Chelsea will not be able to either extend his loan or make the move permanent under the current restrictions.
The club will be unlikely to be able to strengthen with new players in the summer either as the are under an effective transfer embargo. Chelsea will have to park interest in big names such as West Ham’s Declan Rice and Sevilla defender Jules Kounde.
How will it affect the fans?
The cold reality of the restricted licence is that any fans who do not currently hold either a ticket for a specific fixture or a season ticket will not be able to attend the club’s games.
The club will not be able to sell tickets to either home or away games. It is not yet clear who will be able to attend Champions League games as these require season ticket holders to purchase additional tickets.
Chelsea’s games will still be broadcast, however.
Chelsea’s Premier League match with Norwich at Carrow Road will go ahead, the Premier League confirmed in a statement.
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