What Awaits Chelsea Now That Owner Roman Abramovich Has Been Sanctioned by UK

© AFP 2023 / IAN KINGTON A general view of Stamford bridge is pictured before the start of the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen at Stamford Bridge in London
 A general view of Stamford bridge is pictured before the start of the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen at Stamford Bridge in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.03.2022
The entrepreneur is among the seven Russian billionaires to have been sanctioned by the United Kingdom in response to Moscow’s special operation, which the Kremlin said is aimed at "de-Nazifying" Kiev. Western nations have condemned Russia’s actions and imposed the very harshest sanctions on the country.
English football club Chelsea has been plunged into uncertainty after UK authorities introduced punitive measures against its owner, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. In a statement published on its website, Downing Street said it froze his assets and introduced a prohibition on transactions with UK individuals and businesses, a travel ban, and transport sanctions.
British authorities acknowledged that the punitive measures would have a "significant impact" on Chelsea and, given the “potential knock-on effects” of the decision, they gave the club a licence which allows it to perform football-related activities. So what does this mean for Chelsea?

The club is in effect not allowed to generate income outside existing contracts and agreements, something sports pundits say will affect the Blues’ performance on the pitch. For example, the sanctions ban the club from either buying new players or selling current ones, and even offering new contracts.

This means that if the UK authorities don’t lift sanctions by the summer, stars such as Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta, whose contracts expire this season, could leave Chelsea on a free transfer.

During the coronavirus lockdowns, football players revealed how unpleasant it was to play to empty stadiums and Chelsea players are about to experience this scourge yet again as the punitive measures prohibit the sale of tickets to matches - although season ticket-holders will be available to attend the games.

The sanctions also mean that Chelsea won’t be able to swell its coffers by selling merchandise with the club’s shop being closed. Another measure that will bring further economic losses is the limit on the club's travel costs - the cap has been set at £20,000 per game.

Sources told American cabel sports channel 'ESPN' that an away game in the English Premier League exceeds this limit, and a European away game is estimated to cost around £30,000. On top of that, the club cannot use the revenue it gets from broadcasters.

These restrictions raise the question whether Chelsea will be able to meet its payroll demands in the coming months. Despite winning the UEFA Champions League last season the Blues' financial losses amount to about £150 million.

The UK government’s decision to sanction Roman Abramovich has prompted concern from Chelsea’s Supporters Trust.

"Supporters MUST be involved in any conversation regarding ongoing impacts on the club and its global fan base. The CST implores the Government to conduct a swift process to minimise the uncertainty over Chelsea's future, and for supporters to be given a golden share as part of a sale of the club”, it said in the statement.

The measures also prevent the Russian billionaire from selling the club. Last week the entrepreneur said he plans to part ways with the Chelsea just after Russia launched its special operation in Ukraine which drew condemnation from western nations and calls to sanction individuals, who are close to the Kremlin.
From 2000 to 2008, Roman Abramovich was governor of Russia’s autonomous region of Chukotka. UK media have repeatedly speculated that he has strong ties with the Russian head of state, a claim the entrepreneur has denied.

Chelsea has enjoyed tremendous success under Abramovich’s leadership. The club won major trophies, including the Champions League (twice), Premier League and FA Cup (both five times).

Russia launched a special operation in Ukraine on 24 February. President Vladimir Putin said it is aimed at "de-Nazifying and demilitarising" Kiev, as well as protecting the residents of two breakaway regions - the Donetsk and Lugansk People's republics.
The move was condemned by Ukrainian authorities and nations in the West, which have called it an "invasion". The Russian Defence Ministry said that the special operation does not pose a threat to civilians as the nation's forces are only targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure, such as military bases and air defence systems.
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