UK Government Sanctions Roman Abrahimovich
Roman Abramovich’s intentions of selling Chelsea have been suspended after the Russian billionaire was sanctioned by the UK.
Abramovich’s UK investments have been frozen as part of the UK’s response to Russia’s attack of Ukraine. In a document published by the government on Thursday morning, Chelsea’s owner was identified as “a pro-Kremlin oligarch” and was said to be “associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilising Ukraine and and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin, with whom Abramovich has had a close relationship for decades.”
The document stated that Abramovich has had close ties with Putin “for decades” and that the association has led to him profitting financially.
The government said: “This association has included obtaining a financial benefit or other material benefit from Putin and the Government of Russia. This includes tax breaks received by companies linked to Abramovich, buying and selling shares from and to the state at favourable rates, and the contracts received in the run-up to the 2018 World Cup. Therefore, Abramovich has received preferential treatment and concessions from Putin and the government of Russia.”
Abramovich has consistently denied that he is linked to Putin or the Russian state, or that he has been involved in anything to warrant being sanctioned.
The sanctions mean that Abramovich cannot sell Chelsea or invest in the club. The 55-year-old put the club up for sale last week and had been hoping for a deal to go through quickly. There has been interest in the club from several parties.
Chelsea, who were bought by Abramovich in 2003, now face an uncertain future. The European champions have been given a special licence to continue operating, but they will do so with restrictions hanging over them. They cannot sell any more tickets, no merchandise sales are allowed and they cannot sign players or hand out new contracts. Season ticket holders are allowed to attend games and catering services will be permitted.