After the forceful sanctions on Roman Abramovich, Chelsea was cornered and with an uncertain future

Postcard outside Stamford Bridge, amid uncertainty (REUTERS / Hannah Mckay) (HANNAH MCKAY /)

The Chelsea will be able to continue competing during the current season that ends next May, but only thanks to a special license issued by the English government, which in any case limited his economic movements so much that they will have a dramatic sporting consequence in the near future.

These measures taken by the government of Boris Johnson, just on the day of the 117th anniversary of the founding of the Stamford Bridge club, are due to the fact that the economic movements of its owner, the Russian Roman Abramovichhave a close relationship with their compatriot, the president Vladimir Putinand that it could even be involved with capital in the manufacture of tanks for the war against Ukraine.

Among the consequences that the measures taken from Downing Street 10 will bring about is the ban on selling the club (as its owner, the Russian Román Abramovich, had already planned), playing behind closed doors at home (with the only presence of those who bought season tickets yearly, which will not even be able to be in the Champions League matches), the transfer expenses will be radically limited when he has to play as a visitor, and he will not be able to contract or pay the definitive loan clauses of players, which completely changes the panorama of the current European champion.

Boris Johnson’s government has characterized Abramovich as a “pro-Kremlin oligarch associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilizing Ukraine and in undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.” through Vladimir Putin, with whom he has had a close relationship for decades.”

“This relationship -specifies Downing Street 10- has included obtaining a financial or material benefit by Putin and the Russian government, which includes the tax exemptions received by companies linked to Abramovich such as the purchase and sale of shares to and from the State at favorable rates and contracts received in the run-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.” In this way, the government of the United Kingdom also finds a way to take its toll on another fact that bothered twelve years ago, when, surprisingly, Russia was voted to host the last World Cup and England, one of its main rivals and considered the main candidate to organize that tournament, was eliminated on the first vote.

According to the British government document it is implied that Abranovich’s businesses contribute to hostilities in the war between Russia and Ukraine through its stake in the steel-making and mining company Evraz PLC “which could be supplying steel to the Russian military to produce tanks.”

In this way, Abramovich now has his assets frozen as he cannot make any kind of transfers with people or companies in the United Kingdom, nor can he visit the country.

The businessman, who had already had financial difficulties for months as his movements were being observed by the Johnson government, although everything was exacerbated since February 24 with the start of the war, he had already made the decision to sell to Chelsea on March 2 after almost 19 years in charge of his property, because he bought the club in 2003 for just under 200 million euros. The problem is that now he can no longer benefit from this sale as he is unable to keep any of the proceeds (in any case, Abramovich had anticipated that the amount raised would be donated to Ukrainian victims of the war).

The only way that Chelsea can be sold to another private individual will be if the British government grants a new license for this purpose, but as long as it is clear that the money will not reach Abramovich, who had already left to the “blue” entity in charge of a foundation that manages the “Iron Lady” of its total trust, Marina Granovskaya.

Among the candidates to acquire Chelsea (provided that the English government issues a special license that allows it) are the Turkish Muhsin Bayrar, president of AB Group Holding, a successful construction businessman, who went so far as to state that “the flag will soon be waving in London”, the British petrochemical group INEOS and the Swiss businessman Hansjörg Wyss, who in 2012 sold his organization, Synthes, to Johnson and Johnson for 18.2 billion euros, although he would arrive accompanied by six or seven other investors belonging to to an American consortium.

Upon learning of the measures taken by Johnson, Chelsea issued a statement with a diplomatic tone in which it maintains that it hopes “to be able to start a conversation with the government about the scope of the license – which will last until May 31 – and its modifications to allow the club to operate as normally as possible”, while the Premier League maintains that it will work “with the club and the government to ensure that the season proceeds as planned and in line with the government’s intention”.

The truth is that although it will not disappear and will be able to compete in the remainder of the season and the following ones due to the special license it will receive, Chelsea will see its actions dramatically limited from now on, although it has enough chances to go to the quarterfinals of the Champions League after its 2-0 win at home against the French Lille, is third in the Premier League, and in the quarterfinals of the English Cup.

It will be difficult to understand how a club operated with high levels of income and expenses will be able to manage in high competition with limitations such as playing behind closed doors at home (only annual season ticket holders and for local competitions will be allowed because in the Champions League no one will be able to enter their Stamford Bridge stadium, which cannot be remodeled either) and although salaries may continue to be paid to rented players, coaching staff and managers or basic expenses such as security or catering, the funds received, which will always be by agreements prior to the March 10 (such as television rights or player transfer deals), will be frozen indefinitely.

This is not all, because the government established that the “reasonable” expenses of the campus for each trip as a visitor may not exceed 20 thousand euros, which will greatly limit the team’s actions, especially in Champions League transfers, and it is allowed to spend up to 600 thousand euros in security related to the organization of matches. Neither can merchandising be sold and the club store in that sense must remain closed. As if that weren’t enough, the company “Three”, sponsor of the shirt, has already come out to state that “we are in talks with Chelsea and reviewing our position”.

Abramovich “blue” entity in charge of a foundation managed by the “Iron Lady” of his complete trust, Marina Granovskaia (Reuters / John Sibley) (John Sibley /)

With the problem that in the next transfer market, Chelsea will not be able to hire players, a general fright of several of the current components of the campus is fearedWhat Cesar Azpillicuetaits captain, who is already expected to play for Fútbol Club Barcelona, ​​(it is rumored that the agreement between the parties is total), and to whom the Danish central marker could join Andreas Christensenwhile another of the centrals, the German Tomas Rudigerwould go to Real Madrid and it is even believed that his Belgian scorer could emigrate again Romelu Lukakuwho has already expressed his disagreements with the working method and the tactical system used by the German coach Thomas Tuchel, who surely will not be short of offers either. On the other hand, the Spanish Saul Niguez He will have to return to Atlético de Madrid because Chelsea will not be able to pay his loan option.

The British government maintained that Abramovich is “one of seven Russian oligarchs” who had “a total asset freeze” and a ban from setting foot on UK soil “because they are people whose business empires, wealth and connections are closely related to the Kremlin.”

“There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s ruthless assault on Ukraine” and that the sanctions “are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people”, while warning that “we will be ruthless when to persecute those who allow the killing of civilians, the destruction of hospitals and the illegal occupation of sovereign allied countries”.

And if that was not enough, Chelsea could suffer at the end of the season a discount of nine points in the Premier League.


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