Abramovich sanctions for Chelsea bars fans from tickets purchase and freeze on transfers putting the club into uncertainty.
After the Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, recently indicated plans to listen to offers for the Premier League club, the UK government has now announced sanctions against him.
And Chelsea’s future now is in doubt after the government added Roman Abramovich to its list of sanctioned individuals.
The most immediate impact is on the club’s sale, which has been placed on hold while the Russian’s assets are blocked.
Abramovich sanctions impacts on Chelsea
The Blues will be permitted to continue playing games, with a government spokesperson saying: Given the significant impact that today’s sanctions would have on Chelsea football club and the potential knock-on effects of this, the Government has this morning published a licence which authorizes a number of football-related activities to continue at Chelsea.”
However, the impact on supporters is already being felt, with the club forbidden from selling match tickets for the time being.
“Today’s sanctions obviously have a direct impact on Chelsea & its fans,” said Nadine Dorries, secretary of state for culture, media and sport.
“We have been working hard to ensure the club & the national game are not unnecessarily harmed by these important sanctions.
“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 & 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.”
Chelsea is able to continue playing games, but they are not permitted to sell additional tickets for their games as a result of the measures.
Season ticket holders will still be able to attend games at Stamford Bridge, but they will not be able to purchase tickets for the home end.
Tickets that have already been sold are expected to be legitimate, and reports from Tariq Panja of the New York Times imply that away fans may be permitted into the stadium.
Even if there are restrictions on who is allowed to attend matches, food and drink transactions within the stadium are expected to be unaffected by the rules.
As reported by The Times ‘ Steven Swinford, “[The] club can pay players and staff, pay for travel to and from games =, pay director fees & cover costs of security, catering and stewarding – but that’s it”.
The Blues’ club shop has also reportedly been closed amid the sanctions, though at the time of writing the Blues’ online megastore remains accessible.
Beyond this season, a ban on new transfers and contracts threatens to impact Chelsea’s on-pitch future.
Defenders Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta are all out of contract at the end of the season, and the trio had already feared being left in limbo amid the uncertainty over the ownership of the club
The club are also believed to be unable to hand out new deals to 17 and 18-year-olds in their academy while the uncertainty remains.
However, according to Get French Football News, an agent representing one of the Blues’ players has questioned whether preventing players from leaving Stamford Bridge would be permitted under employment law.
“How can they ban the club from selling players?” the agent said.
“Surely there are employment law implications for players who were due to leave now essentially being trapped?”