In a major shakeup in the world of football in the context of the Russia-Ukraine armed conflict and related economic sanctions, the UK government froze the London-based premier league club, Chelsea.
This came as the Boris Johnson government imposed sanctions on Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich, who owns the club. In a statement, the club said, “Chelsea Football Club has been advised that its owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK Government.”
“By virtue of his 100 percent ownership of Chelsea FC and affiliated entities, Chelsea FC would normally be subject to the same sanctions regime as Mr Abramovich. However, the UK Government has issued a general license that permits Chelsea FC to continue certain activities,” the statement further said.
The club stated that it will continue with its fixtures for the foreseeable future in light of the sanctions. However, the club is forbidden from selling any further tickets or any merchandise. Existing ticket holders will be able to attend matches.
According to Sky Sports, Abramovich has to sell the club in 81 days in consultation with the British government and make no profit in the process.
Already in light of the western sanctions, the club’s primary sponsor Three, the telecom company said they will withdraw their logos from the shirts and the stadium.
Abramovich, who bought Chelsea FC in 2003 for £140m, is seeking a £3 billion valuation. According to ESPN, none of the multiple bids that have been submitted have matched the asking price.
The potential parties are expected to submit their bids to New York merchant bank Raine Group by March 15. One of the key bidders is Todd Boehly, part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and LA Lakers.
Other than Chelsea FC, the Russian billionaire, with close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, has major interests in steel major Evraz and Norilsk Nickel making him worth close to £12 billion.