Chelsea FC’s Russian billionaire owner
Roman Abramovic was on Thursday sanctioned by the British government over Russia’s
invasion of Ukraine. The 55-year-old is one of seven “pro-Kremlin oligarchs”,
as the UK government labelled them, to be hit with unprecedented sanctions including
asset freezes and travel bans.

can be no safe havens” for those who support Russia in its invasion of Ukraine,
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, adding, “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,” Johnson added.

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The government said Abramovic is “one of
the few oligarchs from the 1990s to maintain prominence under Putin”.

the sanctions will affect Chelsea

The latest move has direct implications on
reigning European and world champions Chelsea, including hindering the club’s
sale. Abromovich, who has an estimated net worth of £9.4 billion, put the London
club up for sale only last week amid calls for him to be sanctioned.

Chelsea will be allowed to operate under the
British government’s special “Russia Regulations” licence. The sanctions will
also prevent the club from selling tickets and merchandise at its shops. Only
season ticket-holders can now attend matches at the Stamford Bridge.

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Staff, including
players, can continue to be paid. The club’s wage bill was almost 28 million
pounds ($37 million) a month in the most recent accounts.

The club has been
effectively placed under a transfer ban since it cannot spend on registering
new players. There are doubts over the ability to offer new contracts, which may
see the club lose defenders Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilcueta and Anthony
Rudiger for free, with their deals expiring in the summer.

Only 500,000 pounds
($657,000) can be spent on staging each match at Stamford Bridge, including on
security and catering. A maximum of 20,000 pounds can be spent on travel to