Abramovich announced this month that he plans to sell Chelsea, as it is “in the interest of the club, the fans and staff as well as the club’s sponsors and partners”. This came after he announced that he had given “oversight” of the club to the trustees of the club’s charitable foundation.
The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth Office and Development Office said in a statement on Thursday that the new sanctions would lead to a freeze on his assets and would ban “transactions with UK individuals and businesses”. The billionaire will also face a travel ban preventing him from entering the UK.
Existing season ticket holders will be allowed to attend matches as well as fans who purchased tickets before Thursday.
Fans can buy food and drink in these matches, according to the statement, and under the sanctions, third-party retailers who have purchased or produced club merchandise before Thursday will be allowed to sell their existing stock as long as no money is given to Chelsea.
The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust – an independent, not-for-profit fund set up to “encourage” the club’s board of directors to “take into account the interests of all supporters” among other purposes – has expressed “concern” about the move.
“The Committee on Science and Technology is appealing to the government for a swift process to reduce uncertainty about Chelsea’s future, and for fans and fans to be awarded a gold share as part of the sale of the club.”
The mobile phone and communications company, which sponsors the Chelsea shirt, said Thursday it was reviewing its relationship with the club after the British government sanctioned Abramovich.
A spokesperson for Three told CNN: “We are in discussions with Chelsea and are reviewing our position.”
British MP Chris Bryant had previously called for Abramovich to lose ownership of Chelsea after seeing a leaked 2019 British government document that said Abramovich was a subject of interest due to his “connections to the Russian state and his general association with corrupt activism and practices”. The deputy said in a tweet on Twitter.
Abramovich is valued at 9.4 billion pounds ($12.36 billion), according to the UK government.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said this month that the UK was “absolutely intent” on punishing Russian oligarchs, adding that the UK was working through “another list” of oligarchs to punish them.
“There is nowhere for any of Putin’s friends to hide,” Truss said.
CNN’s George Ramsay and Alex Klusuk contributed to the report.
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