|It's a hard time for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and even a tougher time for Chelsea football club, where do they go from here? (Photo credit: Chelsea FC)|
Chelsea learned on Thursday that their owner, Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government following the global clampdown on Russian Oligarchs, thereby freezing his assets including the London club.
It’s been coming and the Russian billionaire was well and truly aware. He moved earlier to circumvent this ugly eventuality but hesitations amidst a possible end to the war sooner than later eventually became his undoing as things are technically going south from here.
"Abramovich is associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilizing 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," it read. "This association has included obtaining a financial benefit or other material benefit from Putin and the Government of Russia."
Abramovich had on the 26th of February transferred the management of the club to a board of trustees and as criticisms grew over his relationship with the Russian president, he announced he was ready to sell the club but he hesitated at the last minute.
The immediate consequence of the government’s decision to freeze Abramovich’s asset will impact Chelsea directly and although the club can still be sold, it wouldn’t be straightforward and the Russian will not earn a dime from the proceeds.
Thankfully, the Blues can still fulfill the remaining fixtures of the league season under a special license that sees the club as a social and cultural asset, but the future is ominous especially if the war in Ukraine doesn’t end soon or the sale plan doesn’t end well.
Season ticket holders and those that have tickets to league games can still watch games at the stadium as the acquisition of such tickets came before the sanctions; however, cup games aren’t included in such arrangements, meaning Chelsea risk playing champions league games behind closed doors.
Where does the biggest problem lie? Chelsea cannot sign or sell players, they cannot review contracts and that put them in some trouble with the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta all in their final year of contract.
The Blues will hope there’s enough in the covers for the instalment payment for Ben Chilwell and Timo Werner to Leicester and RB Leipzig respectfully. All summer transfer plans remain on hold but again, the signs are not interesting.
Chelsea’s cash balance from the last book balance release was £17m but that won’t be enough for employee wages, travel costs, taxes to other clubs among other domestic needs, while they would still be able to receive funds from existing partners, they won’t be able to access it because of the sanctions.
Some sponsors are already pulling out of their deals, the rain was always going to turn to hurricane and as it stands, the most successful English club in the last two decades is facing uncertain futures, in every language you understand… Please pray for Chelsea.