Roman Abramovich: UK sanctions Russian oligarch and Chelsea owner


London, UK
CNN

The UK has added Russian oligarch and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich to its list of people sanctioned as part of its effort to “isolate” Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russia invaded Ukraine. – questioning the sale of the London club and prohibiting the purchase or sale of players until further notice.

In a statement on Thursday, the British government said it was adding seven more oligarchs and politicians – including Abramovich – to its list of sanctioned individuals.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government as part of efforts to

Abramovich announced this month that he planned to sell Chelsea as it is “in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners”. It came after he said he had handed over the ‘stewardship’ of the club to the trustees of the club’s charitable foundation.

But the new sanctions will see his assets frozen and prohibit “dealings with British individuals and companies”, Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said in a statement on Thursday. The billionaire will also face a travel ban prohibiting him from entering the UK.

What the club CANNOT do?

  • Conclude transfer deals for new players or receive money for selling existing players.
  • Issue new contracts to existing players.
  • Sell ​​new tickets for upcoming matches – only season ticket holders can attend matches for the foreseeable future.
  • Sell ​​any merchandise – however, any third party who purchased or produced Club merchandise before Thursday is permitted to sell stock.
  • According to the UK government, Chelsea will be given a special license to continue to “perform their matches and carry out their footballing activities” – including the payment of players and club staff – but certain actions will not be permitted, such as buying and selling new players and selling tickets for matches beyond those already sold to fans.

    Existing season ticket holders will be allowed to attend games as well as fans who purchased tickets before Thursday.

    Fans can purchase food and drink at those matches, the statement said, and under the sanctions third-party retailers who bought or produced club merchandise before Thursday will be allowed to sell their existing stock as long as no money is released. is given to Chelsea. For now, the special license lasts until May 31.

    The club issued a statement regarding the sanctions on Thursday, saying: “We will complete our men’s and women’s team fixtures today against Norwich and West Ham respectively and intend to enter into discussions with the UK government. regarding the scope of the license This will include requesting permission for the license to be amended to enable the Club to operate as normally as possible.

    The Premier League also issued a statement saying that “the League will now work with the club and the government to ensure that the season runs as planned and in accordance with the government’s intent”.

    What CAN the club do?

  • Pay the allowances and pensions of all Club employees, including the salaries of Players and coaching staff.
  • Pay reasonable travel expenses to and from fixtures, but “not exceeding the value of £20,000 per match per club team”.
  • Pay such reasonable costs as are necessary for the purposes of hosting club matches at their home ground, but “not exceeding the value of £500,000 per match per club team”.
  • Pay fees, dividends or other compensation to directors of the Club.
  • Pay “reasonable charges” or other costs directly related to the regular and ongoing maintenance of the Club.
  • Broadcasters can broadcast all matches involving the club.
  • The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust – an independent not-for-profit trust set up to ‘encourage’ the club’s board to ‘consider the interests of all supporters’ among other things – expressed ‘concern’ at the move .

    “Supporters MUST be involved in any conversation regarding the ongoing impacts on the club and its global fan base,” the trust said. in a report.

    “CST implores the government to conduct a swift process to minimize uncertainty over Chelsea’s future, for supporters and supporters to receive a share of the gold as part of a sale of the club.”

    Ben Peppi, sports trading expert at JMW Solicitors, told CNN Sport that unless the UK government introduces a new license, Chelsea cannot be sold.

    “Abramovich will not be allowed to put money into the club or take money out of it. As we know he has funded Chelsea to the tune of billions of pounds and has a £1.5 billion loan sterling ($1.98 billion) that Chelsea currently owe Abramovich,” he said.

    “We don’t currently know where the money comes from to pay the players – if it just comes from the day-to-day business of the business, ie broadcast revenue, commercial revenue. Obviously , matchday revenue contributes to this, and we know that no new tickets can be sold, no new merchandise can be sold that benefits the club or Abramovich – it can only benefit the retailers.

    This could have significant implications for the club, who are already seeing sponsors considering their Chelsea deals.

    Chelsea shirt sponsor Three, the mobile and telecommunications company, told CNN on Thursday they were reviewing their relationship with the club after the UK government sanctioned Abramovich.

    “If Mr Abramovich cannot fund the club, and you also have other sources of commercial income coming into the club which will now start to dry up given the sanctions imposed, the long-term implications are very significant if a sale is not made,” Peppi said.

    Although Chelsea can negotiate with potential buyers, the club cannot be sold until a special license is granted, he added.

    “If they don’t generate any commercial income on match day and they won’t be able to draw on shareholder loans, where will the money come from to support the club?

    “I anticipate a new owner will be found. But it will be a much different process for the sale than it seemed even last week.

    The penalties will also have implications for Chelsea players, Peppi said.

    “Immediate short-term players whose contracts are ending means that these players are essentially entitled to go on a free transfer at the end of the season because they are out of contract.”

    For players with contracts beyond the end of the season, nothing will change until May 31, Peppi said.

    In the long run, he said, “it comes back to this larger, broader theme around the kind of cultural, political and social impact of football as being way more powerful than it’s ever been.

    “And are the players going to want to sign for Chelsea – for a club like Chelsea, a club like Newcastle – where they know the volatility of the situation in terms of the ownership structure of the football club?

    British MP Chris Bryant previously called for Abramovich to be stripped of his Chelsea property. Speaking in the House of Commons in February, Bryant cited a UK government document leaked in 2019 that identified Abramovich’s “alleged ties to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activities and practices.” Abramovich has always denied being connected to Putin and dismissed claims that any of his activities deserved government sanctions.

    Abramovich is worth an estimated £9.4 billion ($12.36 billion), according to the UK government.

    The UK is “absolutely determined” to sanction Russian oligarchs, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said this month, adding that the UK was working on “a new list” of oligarchs to sanction.

    “There’s nowhere for Putin’s cronies to hide,” Truss continued.

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