Wednesday, February 21

UK sanctions on Abramovich leave Chelsea in limbo

Chelsea As of today, it is a football club that can continue playing games and paying salaries, but is not authorized to sell tickets, official products or footballers. In short, it becomes a company that can pay but cannot collect nothing practically nothing that was not compromised before March 10. This is how El Periódico de España collects it.

And, perhaps most important of all, Chelsea cannot be sold to anyone, blocking the announced intentions of Roman Abramovich to get rid of the ownership of the London club.

He intended to do it before the government of Boris Johnson punish him for his links with Vladimir Putin, but the United Kingdom has anticipated.

London has approved this Thursday the sanctions on seven upcoming oligarchs to the president of Russia, freezing his assets, vetoing his physical presence in the United Kingdom and prohibiting his dealings with British companies or citizens.

“preferential treatment”

“There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s savage assault on Ukraine. We will be uncompromising in pursuing those who allow the killing of civiliansthe destruction of hospitals and the illegal occupation of sovereign allies”, Johnson defended.

Regarding Abramovich, the British government defends that has received “tax exemptions for the companies it controls, buying and selling assets at favorable prices”. It also highlights the contracts received for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, concluding that the owner of Chelsea “has received preferential treatment and concessions” by the Kremlin.

The package of sanctioning measures entailed a immediate stoppage of all activity in the UK of the companies that are owned by these oligarchs, but the British government has issued an exceptional license that allows Chelsea to partially continue with its activities.

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Some special measures that the Johnson government adopts to “protect the premier leaguethe soccer pyramid (a term that appeals to the structure of all professional and amateur football in England), the loyal fans and other clubs”.

Until May 31

However, the exceptional measures, in force until the end of the season (May 31) and subject to constant review seriously compromise the viability of the club in the short and medium term.

Chelsea is authorized to continue playing its matches, to allow season ticket holders access to Stamford Bridge and to pay salaries of athletes, technicians and other employees, but little else.

Any sales activity (and, therefore, income generation) is prohibited from this Thursday. I mean Chelsea cannot sell tickets for their matches, like neither official products in their storesand neither agree the transfer of footballers.

Payment obligations with other clubs for transfers or assignments agreed before March 10 remain in force, as well as access to the stadium for future matches for fans who bought tickets before that date, as well as for season tickets.

no renewals

You can even pay dividends and bonuses to club executives (with the exception of Abramovich himself), but you cannot commit new payments. That implies that Chelsea You will not be able to renew footballers or technicians while the sanctions last.

It should be noted that all these impediments are temporary relief measures to alleviate the effects of the sanction on Abramovich, not punishments for the club itself. In other words, it is to be expected that Chelsea’s situation will not improve in the coming weeks, at least while the Russian oligarch remains its owner.

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And that does not seem to change in the short term, unless some mechanism is articulated that causes Abramovich to abandon the club’s property without receiving compensation some. A hypothesis that seems unlikely, given the desire expressed by the Russian oligarch to receive a sum greater than 3,000 million euros.

Negotiations stalled

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The Russian businessman had assured that he would donate the profits (he bought the club in 2003 for just under 200 million euros) to the victims of the war in Ukraine, without specifying whether he would deduct from the final amount the around 1,800 million euros that he has been lending to Chelsea from his personal capital during these years.

Several businessmen had shown their interest in acquiring the club that is defending the European Cup this year, although with lower figures than Abramovich expected to collect. Negotiations, in any case, that are now slowed down by the sanctions of the United Kingdom and that open a total uncertainty around Chelsea.

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