The United Kingdom (UK) has frozen Roman Abramovich’s assets making it impossible for him to sell Chelsea Football Club, in the meantime, a development that will significantly impact Thomas Tuchel’s squad.
The UK government froze the assets for Abramovich’s ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin who authorised a military invasion of Ukraine on the 24th of February citing a genocide on pro-Russian separatist groups. Kiev dismisses the allegations as mere propaganda.
The Russian put the Blues up for sale last week and he had valued the club at around £4billion.
Abramovich bought the club in 2003 and he’s invested over £1.5bn into Chelsea during a trophy-laden 18-and-a-half years at the club.
The 55-year-old had hoped to conclude a deal this week but the UK government have finally decided to sanction him given his connection to Putin. A government statement read:
Roman Abramovich is a prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch.
Abramovich associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilising Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin, with whom Abramovich has had a close relationship for decades.
This association has included obtaining a financial benefit or other material benefits from Putin and the Government of Russia. This includes tax breaks received by companies linked to Abramovich, buying and selling shares from and to the state at favourable rates, and the contracts received in the run up to the FIFA 2018 World Cup.
Speaking after the sanctions were announced, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK can no longer provide a ‘safe haven’ for those that have supported Putin.
In the short term, the sanctions mean Chelsea can no longer sell match tickets or merchandise to supporters. Only season-ticket holders will be permitted to attend matches.
Looking further ahead, the club will be banned from signing or selling players and no new contracts can be agreed upon.
This will have a significant effect on Thomas Tuchel’s squad, with the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta out of contract at the end of the season.
Speaking last week, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters raised doubts over Abramovich’s ability to sell Chelsea if he is sanctioned by the UK Government.