Club prohibited from selling match tickets or opening club shop
The UK government has imposed sanctions on Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club, with the result that the proposed sale of the club has been halted, the Chelsea club shop must close and match ticket sales are suspended.
But the club can continue to pay the wages of all its employees, including players and coaching staff.
Prior to the imposition of the sanctions, Abramovich had announced he was passing “stewardship” of the club to the Chelsea Foundation. But sports law experts questioned whether the foundation would accept the role as it could “compromise” its position.
Lawyers also questioned whether it was possible for a charity to run a football club.
Culture secretary Nadine Dorries confirmed that Abamovich had been sanctioned in a social media post.
“Today the Government has announced further sanctions against individuals linked to the Russian Government. This list includes Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club. Our priority is to hold those who have enabled the Putin regime to account. Today’s sanctions obviously have a direct impact on Chelsea and its fans. We have been working hard to ensure the club & the national game are not unnecessarily harmed by these important sanctions,” Dorries said.
“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 and 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.”