BusinessDay

Chelsea sale hits brick wall as UK freezes Roman Abramovich’s account

The United Kingdom government has officially frozen Roman Abramovich’s assets in the UK today.

A development that will see the sale of Chelsea Football Club being put on hold, sales of tickets and merchandise also halted.

Read also: Russia – Ukraine Conflict: UK freezes more Russian accounts

In announcing its actions against Abramovich, the government stated that it has taken efforts to secure Chelsea’s ability to continue operations and meet its schedules.

“Given the significant impact that today’s sanctions have on Chelsea football club and the potential knock on effects of this, the Government has this morning published a license which authorizes a number of football-related activities to continue at Chelsea,” the British government said in its statement announcing the freezing of Abramovich’s assets.

The team was however granted a special license to keep operating till further notice.

Last week, the Russian confirmed that he has put Chelsea up for sale, but the asset freeze and sanctions imposed on him, as well as the “special license” granted to the club, have put a stop to that.

The license will be effective March 10, 2022, and will expire on May 31, 2022. The details have been revealed, and Her Majesty’s (HM) Treasury may change, revoke, or suspend this license at any time.

Also, employees of the club, including players and coaching staff, are still permitted to play for the club.

“Any fees, dividends, or allowances paid to Chelsea directors under obligations that predate the date of the license would still be permitted,” the license entailed.
The team and staff will be reimbursed for travel costs to and from games up to a maximum of £20,000 per game, while security, catering, and stewarding costs of up to £500,000 will also be allowed.

However, tickets for upcoming games are no longer available, and those purchased prior to the sanctioning on March 10 will be allowed to attend.

Broadcasting will continue as before, with fees going into a separate account that will be used to pay players and staff instead of going to Abramovich.

“I know this brings some uncertainty, but the government will work with the league and clubs to keep football being played while ensuring sanctions-hit those intended,” Nadine Dorries the UK’s culture secretary said on Twitter.

“Football clubs are cultural assets and the bedrock of our communities. We’re committed to protecting them.”

Also, commenting on the sanction, Boris Johnson, UK’s Prime Minister, said that there can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine.

“Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people. We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals, and illegal occupation of sovereign allies.”

Meanwhile, the government has also said the license would be kept under review.

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