In a shocking twist Thursday morning, the UK government made the decision to freeze all of the assets of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Abramovich, who has ties to Vladimir Putin, had just put the club up for sale on March 2, but following the latest sanctions placed upon the Russian billionaire, his sale of the club is currently on hold.
That’s not all that’s being impacted by the sanctions, however, as Chelsea is going to be severely impacted by the UK government’s decision until Abramovich’s assets are unfrozen, per ESPN.
How Roman Abramovich sanctions will impact Chelsea
The sanctions against Abramovich, first and foremost, will put a hold on any discussions over the sale of Chelsea. Abramovich had reportedly received various bids to purchase the London-based club, however, none had approached his $3 billion valuation of the team. He won’t be able to continue negotiating the sale, however, unless he submits and is approved for a license to sell the club by the UK government. Even if a license is granted, Abramovich would be unable to turn a profit in any sale of the club.
In addition to the sale of the club, day-to-day life at Chelsea could stand to be negatively impacted, too. Already, the club shop has shut down, unable to re-open until the sanctions are removed. Additionally, tickets can no longer be sold for home or away games, with the exception of previously purchased season tickets. That means there will be no Chelsea fans at away games, and only season-ticket holders will be in attendance during the club’s home games.
The club will be capped at a maximum of £20,000 for travel costs to away games, and the cost of security, catering, and stewarding cannot exceed £500,000 per home game. Any broadcasters airing Chelsea games will still pay revenue to the club, but that revenue will then be frozen.
Furthermore, the club will not be able to extend the contracts of current players, nor will they be able to sign new transfers until the sanctions are lifted. They will, however, be able to pay clubs for loan fees, meaning the £4 million owed to Atletico Madrid for the Saul deal will still be due. The likes of Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, and Cesar Azpilicueta, both of whom are rumored to be leaving on a free transfer, will not be able to be extended.
Players and staff will still be paid their wages while the club is under these new sanctions, however, the club is effectively under a transfer embargo.
Clearly, the latest sanctions handed down against Abramovich by the UK government are serious and will have significant impacts on the club, which will have to adjust and try to focus on its goals despite all of the noise surrounding its owner. The club revealed it is in the process of obtaining a license from the UK government which would enable it to operate as normal, though nothing has been approved or denied of yet.