Chelsea have held discussions with the UK government regarding the provision of the General Licence that was issued on Thursday to allow the club to continue operating despite the sanctions placed on Roman Abramovich, and we have managed to get them to loosen some (but certainly not all) of the restrictions.
These amendments include:
- increase in matchday spending from £500k to £900k (Chelsea reportedly argued that it costs between £800k to £1m to stage a Premier League match)
- explicit allowance for spending related to youth development (no cap, but within existing rules)
- explicit allowance for paying contractors and temporary workers (many of whom are matchday staff)
- explicit allowance for paying benefits for all workers (if said benefits were in place before March 10)
- spending on ongoing capital works if the works began before March 10
- paying legal fees and settlements and other such obligations for cases settled before March 10
- collecting rent from tenants and guests at club-owned properties if they were already paying or contracted to pay before March 10 (including hotel bookings, it sounds like)
The one glaring omission is that travel fees are still restricted to just £20k per fixture per team, which Chelsea argued wouldn’t have covered even the Norwich trip on Thursday let alone the trip to Lille next week (which has already been paid for, so it’s not restricted). The Telegraph do report that the government will increase that if necessary for future European engagements (i.e. if we progress past Lille).
One thing that the powers that be remain unwilling to do is allow new ticket or merchandising sales, or the ability to offer new contracts and/or make transfers, because apparently we’ve got to live in the real world. Chelsea had argued that no income from these would go to the sanctioned individual, but that has fallen on deaf ears.
Here are some of the most sanctimonious words I’ve read or heard in the last couple weeks, and that’s saying something.
“[There is no chance of Chelsea being allowed to] “carry on as normal. They’ve got to live in the real world. People are getting bombed and losing their lives in another country.”
-Whitehall source; source: Telegraph
Not to be left out of all this grandstanding, the Premier League have also deemed it necessary to release a statement banning Roman Abramovich from being a “director” at Chelsea Football Club, which is pretty weird since he was never a director (at least officially). Apparently this is the first time they have done anything like this. Making more history! Good job guys!
Despite the rogues gallery that has come and gone through its doors, the Premier League had never disqualified an owner or director until today’s Abramovich announcement. Some near misses in the past but those lads were given opportunity to leave with reputations intact— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) March 12, 2022
Following the imposition of sanctions by the UK Government, the Premier League Board has disqualified Roman Abramovich as a Director of Chelsea Football Club.
The Board’s decision does not impact on the club’s ability to train and play its fixtures, as set out under the terms of a licence issued by the Government which expires on 31 May 2022.
Abramovich’s official disqualification from a role he didn’t hold isn’t going to make a tangible difference to any ongoing process or decision already made, including the club’s sale and him not having any control over the club anymore.