Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government and, as a result, any attempts to sell Chelsea have been halted.
The 55-year-old – along with six other individuals – is the subject of a full asset freeze and travel ban. Consequently, Abramovich will be unable to sell Chelsea on his terms.
The Telegraph reported the club could still be sold if Abramovich handed over the process to the UK Government - in doing so, the BBC added, he would receive no proceeds from any sale.
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The government detailed the reasoning behind the sanction in a document entitled consolidated list of financial sanctions targets in the UK.
“Abramovich is or has been involved in destabilising Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, via Evraz PLC, a steel manufacturing and mining company in which Abramovich has a significant shareholding and over which Abramovich exercises effective control.
“Evraz PLC is or has been involved in providing financial services, or making available funds, economic resources, goods or technology that could contribute to destabilising Ukraine or undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence of Ukraine – which includes potentially supplying steel to the Russian military which may have been used in the production of tanks.”
A statement published on gov.uk said Abramovich had been sanctioned alongside six others
"Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has today (Thursday 10 March) announced a full asset freeze and travel ban on seven of Russia’s wealthiest and most influential oligarchs, whose business empires, wealth and connections are closely associated with the Kremlin," began a statement from the UK government.
"As part of the UK’s leading efforts to isolate Putin and those around him, these oligarchs – who have a collective net worth of around £15bn - will have their assets in the UK frozen, they are banned from travelling here and no UK citizen or company may do business with them.
"Those newly-sanctioned by the UK include Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea Football Club, worth more than £9 billion; leading industrialist Oleg Deripaska worth £2 billion, and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin. A further group of Russia-based oligarchs close to Putin have also been placed under sanction.
"Those sanctioned today are:
- Roman Abramovich owner of Chelsea FC and has stakes in steel giant Evraz and Norilsk Nickel
- Oleg Deripaska has stakes in En+ Group
- Igor Sechin is the Chief Executive of Rosneft
- Andrey Kostin is Chairman of VTB bank
- Alexei Miller is CEO of energy company Gazprom
- Nikolai Tokarev is president of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft
- Dmitri Lebedev is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank Rossiya"
WHAT DOES THE SANCTION MEAN FOR CHELSEA?
Chelsea have been issued with a licence which authorises the club to continue with a number of football-related activities, the statement added.
"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," read the statement.
"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."
The licence allows season ticket holders or those who purchased tickets prior to March 10 to attend matches, but the club are not allowed to sell any match day tickets or merchandise post March 10. The club can still pay players and staff, outstanding transfer fees and spend £500k on staging games. However, they are unable to negotiate contract extentions for existing players.
The Russian billionaire ushered in a new era for Chelsea and the Premier League when he bought the club in 2003. However, after 19 years in charge, Abramovich had intended to sell Chelsea and went public with his intentions last week.
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