Chelsea football club owner and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has been hit with sanctions by the UK government
The UK announced on Thursday that Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich would be added to the government’s sanctions list, along with seven other politicians and oligarchs.
Abramovich, who is credited with transforming Chelsea Football Club into one of the top professional football clubs in the Premier League, will have his assets frozen by the government and transport sanctions imposed, as well as bans on travel and transactions with individuals and businesses in the UK. With this move, the UK becomes the first Western country to impose harsh sanctions on the Russian billionaire.
At the end of February, Abramovich revealed plans to transfer stewardship of Chelsea to trustees of the club’s charitable foundation, the Chelsea Foundation. In the move Abramovich would relinquish control of the day-to-day running of the club, but retained ownership in full. According to The Times, these plans were delayed, and being investigated by the charity commission.
Additionally, the Russian billionaire announced that he was seeking to sell Chelsea football club, as well as his homes in London — a move that is now banned under the new sanctions.
In their announcement, the UK government said that it would provide a license to allow Chelsea to continue to operate in the Premier League, despite the crackdown on its owner. However, commercial activities will be reduced: No merchandise and no new away tickets will be allowed to be sold to fans, and only season ticket holders will be allowed to attend matches. Additionally, contracts with players will not be able to be renegotiated during the summer transfer window.
‘There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine,’ Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement announcing the sanctions.
Along with Abramovich, industrialist Oleg Deripaska was also hit with sanctions, along with other oligarchs who have ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Photo by Alexander Hassenstein – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images