Roman Abramovich, owner of the English Premier League soccer club Chelsea FC, was sanctioned by the United Kingdom as part of the measures taken by the British government against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich is one of seven Russian oligarchs affected by the new sanctions, which also include asset freezes and travel restrictions.
The list also includes billionaires Igor Sechin and Oleg Deripaska, both considered allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “there can be no safe harbor” for those who have supported the invasion.
“Today’s action is the latest step in the UK’s strong support for the Ukrainian people. We will be relentless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, the destruction of hospitals and the illegal occupation of sovereign allies,” Johnson said.
sale on hold
The British government was under pressure to sanction Abramovich, who said he had made the “difficult decision” to sell Chelsea earlier this month.
The club is among the assets frozen as part of the Abramovich sanctions and the sale of the football club is on hold.
The British government announced that it will issue a special license for the team to play scheduled games, for the squad to receive salaries and for fans with tickets to attend games.
The club’s season ticket holders will be able to continue to attend the games for which they have tickets, but the club will not be able to sell any more tickets for the games. The club merchandise store will be closed.
What does the special license for Chelsea contemplate?
- Chelsea will be able to pay the salaries of all its employees, including players and coaching staff
- May pay “reasonable” travel costs to and from matches not to exceed £20,000 (US$26,330) per game per team
- Will be able to pay “reasonable” costs for hosting home games not to exceed £500,000 (US$658,000) per game per team
- Fans who purchased individual game or season tickets before March 10 will be able to attend the games
- The channels that have transmission rights will be able to transmit any match that involves the club
The British government’s decision alleges that Abramovich, 55, has close ties to Vladimir Putin, something he has denied.
The government claims the Russian billionaire, whose fortune is estimated at $12.37 billion , is “one of the few oligarchs of the 1990s who maintained prominence under Putin.”
Abramovich has assets in the steel giant Evarz, Norilsk Nickel and sold 73% of his shares in the Sibneft oil company to the state-owned gas company Gazprom for US$12.768 million in 2005.
Although the sanctions against him cast doubt on Chelsea’s future, government ministers tried to reassure the club that it would not be “unnecessarily harmed”.
In a Twitter message, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries wrote that holding accountable those who “enabled the Putin regime” was the priority .
“I know that this brings some uncertainty, but the government will work with the league and the clubs so that football continues to be played while the sanctions impact those who are intended,” he said.
- BBC News World