Roman Abramovich’s UK-based assets have been frozen as of this morning (Thursday), but Chelsea Football Club have been given a “special license” to continue operating on a restricted basis. Chelsea have now confirmed that we will indeed be doing so, including fulfilling both the men’s and women’s teams fixtures that are scheduled for today.
The full scope of this license was not made immediately clear however, especially as far as it pertains to the club’s ongoing sale (Abramovich didn’t want any “net proceeds” for himself after all), as well as weirdly specific restrictions about merchandising (broadcasting revenue is okay but not club shop sales, even though incoming funds would be frozen by default anyway) or ticket sales (even though the incoming funds will also be used to keep paying the players and staff), and travel budgets (why is spending money on the team’s travel a sanction for the owner and his big bad associate?).
To that effect, Chelsea will also be looking to “engage in discussions” to determine the full scope, and will also be looking for ways to “amend” that license to allow normal operations at the club, including our work in the local community. Chelsea Football Club is much more than just the men’s first-team after all.
The club’s statement, in full:
Chelsea Football Club has been advised that its owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK Government.
By virtue of his 100 per cent ownership of Chelsea FC plc and affiliated entities, Chelsea FC would normally be subject to the same sanctions regime as Mr Abramovich. However, the UK Government has issued a general licence that permits Chelsea FC to continue certain activities.
We will fulfil our men’s and women’s team fixtures today against Norwich and West Ham, respectively, and intend to engage in discussions with the UK Government regarding the scope of the licence. This will include seeking permission for the licence to be amended in order to allow the Club to operate as normal as possible. We will also be seeking guidance from the UK Government on the impact of these measures on the Chelsea Foundation and its important work in our communities.
The Club will update further when it is appropriate to do so.