Roman Abramovich disqualified as director of Chelsea

The UK government brought sanctions against the owner on Thursday over his alleged links to Russian president Vladimir Putin

Ben Burrows
Saturday 12 March 2022 14:14
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Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich sanctioned by UK government amid Russian oligarch crackdown

Roman Abramovich has been disqualified as a director of Chelsea, the Premier League have confirmed.

The UK government brought sanctions against the owner on Thursday over his alleged links to Russian president Vladimir Putin amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Despite Abramovich’s assets being frozen, Chelsea were handed a new licence to continue “football-related activities” and are in negotiations with the government to amend some aspects of it.

A statement from the league on Saturday read: “Following the imposition of sanctions by the UK government, the Premier League Board has disqualified Roman Abramovich as a director of Chelsea Football Club.

“The board’s decision does not impact on the club’s ability to train and play its fixtures, as set out under the terms of a licence issued by the government which expires on 31 May 2022.”

The disqualification of an owner by the Premier League would normally trigger the sale of their shareholding.

However, Abramovich had already publicly announced his intention to sell the club and a process has begun with bidders told to press on with submissions.

New York merchant the Raine Group has assessed the terms of the licence handed out to Chelsea and agreed a route forward for the sale with the government.

The green light means Chelsea’s suitors can again push forward with their bids with a number understood to be interested including LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly, Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and British property tycoon Nick Candy.

No 10 are “open” to the club being sold as long as Abramovich doesn’t profit financially from it.

“We welcome the Premier League’s action to disqualify Roman Abramovich as a director of the football club,” they said in a statement.

“The government has made clear that we need to hold to account those who have enabled the Putin regime. We are open to a sale of the club and would consider an application for a licence to allow that to happen.”

Chelsea cannot currently sell any new tickets, leaving fans without season tickets or pre-purchased tickets unable to attend future matches although the club can now spend £900,000 on matchdays - up from the £500,000 announced in the licence that was originally issued.

They also cannot sell any merchandise, including new match programmes, meaning vendors will not be able to work their shifts in Sunday’s Premier League clash against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.

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