How Roman Abramovich sanctions impact Chelsea and Newcastle United fans as UK Government confirm decision
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been added to the UK government’s sanctions list following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine - and here’s what it means for Newcastle United’s game with the Blues on Sunday.
Chelsea’s preparations for the visit of Newcastle United has been thrown into turmoil as owner Roman Abramovich has been added to the UK government’s sanctions list following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
What’s the current situation?
Foreign secretary Liz Truss announced a full asset freeze of the billionaire oligarch’s assets.
Chelsea will be given a special licence to continue to play matches, however the operations of the club will be severely limited.
Whether Abramovich’s proposed sale of the club can go ahead remains up for debate, with some sources suggesting the Russian oligarch’s moves could be blocked, while others suggest the sale may be handed over to be overseen by the UK government.
However, Chelsea will not be able to sell new tickets or merchandise.
Chelsea will not be able to offer new contracts to players, or make transfers.
What does this mean for tickets for Chelsea v NUFC on Sunday?
It is understood that season ticket holders will still be able to go to matches. The club will not be able to sell any new tickets for the match, though. So basically general sale has been put on hold.
As for NUFC tickets, as they were purchased before the sanctions, they’re understood to be still valid, as per advice from the DCMS.
Will fans be able to buy refreshments - beers, pies, etc - at Stamford Bridge?
It’s understood catering, at this stage, will still be available under the sanctions.
So, for the time being, you pre-match pint and half-time pie are safe.
You will not, however, be able to buy any Chelsea merchandise at the ground, if that’s your kind of thing.
Is the game on Sunday in doubt?
There is nothing to suggest Chelsea will not fulfil any of their Premier League fixtures for the rest of the season, including Sunday’s visit of the Magpies.
What next for Abramovich & the UK re Ukraine?
Abramovich, who is worth £9bn, also faces a travel ban alongside six other wealthy and influential Russian oligarchs with close ties to the Kremlin - but he has denied having links to Putin.
It comes on the 15th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, after the bombing of a maternity hospital in the southern city of Mariupol, which has been denounced as a war crime.
The UK government has announced measures against seven oligarchs who have a collective net worth of an estimated £15bn.
Ms Truss said there “no place” in the UK for oligarchs, adding: “The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands.”
Abramovich will be banned from transactions with UK individuals and businesses, barred from travel and have transport sanctions imposed.
It comes as the government’s planned economic crime bill, which was presented to the House of Commons on Monday, March 7, is set to come into force next week.
The club owner’s one-time business partner, industrialist Oleg Deripaska, has also been sanctioned with the same measures.
While several of the Russian leader’s inner circle, including Igor Sechin, Putin’s right-hand man, as well as Andrey Kostin, Alexei Miller, Nikolai Tokarev and Dmitri Lebedev, have been hit with an asset freeze and a travel ban.
Abramovich also has stakes in steel giant Evraz and Norilsk Nickel.
Prime minister Boris Johnson said: “There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine.
“Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people.
“We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies.”
While Ms Truss added: “Today’s sanctions show once again that oligarchs and kleptocrats have no place in our economy or society.
“With their close links to Putin they are complicit in his aggression. The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands. They should hang their heads in shame.
“Our support for Ukraine will not waver. We will not stop in this mission to ramp up the pressure on the Putin regime and choke off funds to his brutal war machine.”
Asset freeze measures mean all UK citizens and businesses are barred from dealing with or providing any funds owned or controlled by the person sanctioned which are held in the UK.
Transport sanctions are newly introduced powers making it a criminal offence for any Russian aircraft to fly or land in the UK and barring Russian ships from UK ports.
While a travel ban means the person sanctioned cannot enter or remain in the UK.