Roman Abramovich sanctioned – The Russian billionaire is finally facing an asset freeze
Roman Abramovich has finally been sanctioned by the UK government based on his shared history with Vladimir Putin, following Russia’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian billionaire initially failed to hit the list of people that were being sanctioned by the government as announced by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in February’s parliamentary procceding.
The decision was disputed by Labour MP, Chris Bryant, implying the sanctions were bare minimum and wouldn’t yield required effects in their efforts to cripple the Russian economy. The opposition believed that those targeted weren’t the major players and urged the government to seize assets of actual, high-profile Russian oligarchs, especially Roman Abramovich, in order to observe a meaningful impact.
Roman Abramovich sanctioned by the UK government on Thursday
Thursday saw the proposed alterations finally come to a fruitful end as the government broadened the scope of sanctions, extending them to the remaining Russian entities and this time, Roman Abramovich wasn’t able to save himself from the destructive force of this new wave of sanctions as confirmed by the Chelsea football club themselves.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said;
“There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine”.
Despite Abramovich constantly denying his links to Putin’s ‘imperial’ regime, there was substantial evidence presented in the form of a document by the UK government verifying his involvement in questionable state activities.
“Abramovich is associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilising 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. This association has included obtaining a financial benefit or other material benefit from Putin and the Government of Russia.”
What the sanctions imposed on Roman Abramovich could mean for Chelsea?
The UK government has imposed asset freeze restrictions on Roman Abramovich, halting the sale of the club and prohibiting all associated transactions. This freeze bars the Russian billionaire to directly profit from any club-related sales including the revenue coming from the merchandise, sale of tickets and sponsors as they won’t continue anymore.
The fixtures, however, will continue and only existing and season ticket holders can attend matches.
The Contract Situation:
The move further suggests that no contract renewals or new transfers are possible either, sending the running of the club into unprecedented uncertainty. So, logically, the club will face a transfer ban following the freeze.
Due to the inability of the club to offer new contracts to its players, Chelsea could see the likes of Anotinio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen, all of whose contracts are expiring by the end of the season, depart.
Not only that, the club could face a huge setback in terms of finances once the sponsors decide to pull away due to them being unable to achieve value for money from their sponsorship agreement with the club, considering the current situation surrounding it. If this revenue stream is cut off, its effect could be reflected in the club’s failing to fulfill staff and player payments.
So far, the shirt sponsors, Three, have already put their £40m agreement on hold. The Kit sponsors, Nike, are weighing their options for continuing the deal or withdrawing from it.
The sale of the club amid the sanctions:
The sale of the club, although temporarily put on hold, can still process under special dispensation but the money from the sale won’t go to Roman’s pockets. The current license allows Chelsea to run ‘some’ club operations within the defined boundaries like fixtures to resume and the wages of all of its employees including the staff and the players to continue.
According to the current license, the club are only allowed to spend a maximum of £500,000 on hosting games with catering and security expenses included within the £500,000 and a maximum of £20,000 on any travel for away games.
The only realistic options Roman is left with, following the asset freeze:
If Roman Abramovich wants to preserve the future of the club, he will eventually have to transfer the control of the sale to the government, meaning forfeiting his right to all the revenue and profit coming from the sale.
Alternatively, he can let the club suffer by maintaining his ownership over the club for as long as the stringent restrictions are in place. This, however, will destroy club’s all chances of survival.
The government apparently seems determined to ensure the security of the club and acknowledges its importance, independent of its owner hence the special license allowing the basic football operations to continue.
“Football clubs are cultural assets and the bedrock of our communities. We’re committed to protecting them.”
Hopefully, Chelsea can overcome these difficult and challenging times.
WATCH: Chelsea’s out-of-favour striker Romelu Lukaku scores twice in action-packed second half 🔥
Romelu Lukaku scores twice v Wolves: Chelsea welcomed Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge tonight in a contest where they were hopeful of reversing their poor run of form to guarantee themselves a Champions League berth.
Despite the Blues receiving two goal scoring opportunities in the first-half of the game, it still ended in a stalemate. However, as the second-half commenced, Romelu Lukaku stepped up to strike twice in quick succession to put Chelsea on a trajectory toward what appeared to be a deserved victory at that time.
Lukaku’s goal tally for Chelsea this season has totalled up to 14 now, causing him to become the highest goal scorer for the Blues, just a goal ahead of Kai Havertz. His performance tonight underlines his renewed confidence as he looks to be approaching the sort of form that had deserted him for most of the season.
Romelu Lukaku hadn’t scored in the Premier League since December 29th.
129 days later and he's got a brace in 3 minutes ⚽⚽ pic.twitter.com/FzZx49vvHw
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 7, 2022
Watch how Romelu Lukaku scores twice in quick succession to give Chelsea’s scoreline an uplift:
The first goal came in response to a VAR call for a foul committed by Saiss on Romelu Lukaku as both players were caught up in a tangle on the edge of the penalty area.
Watch Lukaku’s left-footed penalty here:
The second goal was a Pulisic interception that found Lukaku who then completed the play with an emphatic low finish from the edge of the box with his weaker right foot.
Romelu Lukaku gets his brace with an assist from Christian Pulisic!
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) May 7, 2022
Lukaku wasn’t able to register himself on the scoresheet for Chelsea ever since the start of year 2022 – a daunting prospect for such an expensive striker – however, that record has been laid to rest today as his goals v Wolves have certainly managed to make a statement of his intent.
It’s a shame that a subpar defensive performance from his side overshadowed his monumental return to form. Chelsea were stripped to bone with comeback goals from Wolves that added misery to Chelsea’s hopes of securing a victory. The game ended in an unanticipated 2-2 draw.
After racking up underwhelming results from their recent run-ins, Chelsea are looking a lot less comfortable in the rough and tumble of Premier League’s top-four now. With the fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck, their margin for error has now decreased to just two points, especially after having picked up only 5 points from a possible 15.
Official: Todd Boehly’s consortium signs agreement with Chelsea FC to succeed Roman Abramovich
Chelsea released an official statement in the early hours of Saturday morning confirming that the terms have been agreed with the LA Dodgers’ part-owner Todd Boehly’s consortium to complete the £4.25bn takeover of the club though the acquisition is yet to be approved by the Premier League authorities as well as the UK government.
The statement read:
‘Chelsea Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club’.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 7, 2022
🚨🔵 Official. Chelsea statement now confirms that “terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club”. #CFC
It’s the end of Roman Abramovich era. pic.twitter.com/fTw5EMdd8p
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 7, 2022
Last week, it was revealed that Todd Boehly & Co were Raine Group’s preferred choice to succeed Roman Abramovich following which the group were given one-week window of exclusive negotiations with the club to finalise the takeover. The deal had appeared in doubt due to late interest from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, however, those fears were dissipated as the Ratcliffe bid was later dismissed on account of his inability to complete the sale process by May 31st – the date when Chelsea’s current license expires.
Although the group is fronted by Todd Boehly, private equity firm Clearlake Capital is the one providing the majority of the financial firepower to it. The consortium also includes Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, Boehly’s fellow LA Dodgers’ owner Mark Walter and the British property developer Jonathan Goldstein.
As per Chelsea’s official statement, the £4.25bn headline sum includes the £2.5bn cost required to secure shares in Chelsea – which will go into a frozen UK bank account for the purpose of releasing 100 per cent of the proceeds to charitable causes – the remaining £1.75bn is the amount the group have committed to invest in the club’s future, covering costs regarding redevelopment projects and ensuring there are sufficient funds in place for operational use.
‘The proposed new owners will commit £1.75bn in further investment for the benefit of the Club. This includes investments in Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team and Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation’.
The Clause also placed a limit on the debt the new owners can place on the club.
It also made sure the group pledged £1.75B to be invested in Chelsea's male and female teams, the academy, stadium, and the Chelsea Foundation.
Roman Abramovich secured Chelsea for at least 10yrs. pic.twitter.com/RhZ985Vuxq
— SportsDokita (Odogwu ☝️) (@Sports_Doctor2) May 7, 2022
Few final, obligatory steps remain in the official transfer of ownership of Chelsea Football Club to Todd Boehly’s consortium, one of which requires all group members to complete the Premier League Owners’ and Directors’ Test. Furthermore, Chelsea will have to apply for the amended license from the UK government that would upgrade the club’s operational capacity in addition to allowing the transaction to go ahead. The preparations are underway as the Raine Group wants the sale process to reach its completion as soon as possible.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Four players on the injury list, including a midfield duo.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Chelsea welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge on Saturday where they will be looking to reverse their poor run of form to guarantee themselves a Champions League berth. There are four player absentees that have been confirmed so far by head coach, Thomas Tuchel, in today’s pre-match conference.
After racking up underwhelming results from their recent run-ins, Chelsea are looking a lot less comfortable in the rough and tumble of Premier League’s top-four now. With the fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck, their margin for error has now decreased to just three points, especially after having picked up only 4 points from a possible 12.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: The central midfield duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are ruled out of action for tomorrow’s clash as reported by Thomas Tuchel at a press briefing today.
Additionally, the long-term absentees Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell also remain restricted to the sidelines, despite returning to light training.
— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) May 6, 2022
N’Golo Kante had sustained a knock in the game against Manchester United, consequently missing last weekend’s trip to Everton where his fellow midfielder Jorginho was taken off the pitch at interval.
‘For N’Golo it comes too early. Jorginho is out as well, these two are missing. Callum and Ben Chilwell are still out,’ said the Blues boss.
The duo’s unavailability will give way to introducing Kovačić and most likely RLC in their stead as the latter is currently enjoying an upturn in form.
Mateo Kovačić returned to action as a half-time substitute last weekend after missing a couple games on account of nursing an ankle injury. He stands the highest chance of featuring a start in tomorrow’s game v Wolves.
There is a growing feeling that Tuchel might give Romelu Lukaku a start tomorrow, considering his substitute Kai Havertz is also struggling to find the form that has recently deserted him.
Thomas Tuchel has expressed optimism regarding Lukaku’s reaction in training this week. The Blues boss said;
‘I want him to be an important part of the squad, right now he is very important. There is no recruitment and no players are about to leave because it’s simply not possible,’
‘We need to adapt all the time, to contractual situations and also individual situations, to what we and the players want.
‘We signed a big player, he is a big player. He didn’t come on [at Everton] as we had only three changes, and unfortunately we used one at half-time with Jorginho. Otherwise there was a huge chance we had the same changes as against West Ham, with Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech,’
‘He trained very well, maybe he starts tomorrow, we’ll see.’
🗣️ "Maybe starts tomorrow, let's see." 👀
Thomas Tuchel says he wants Romelu Lukaku to be an important part of the squad next season and discusses why he wasn't played against Everton 🔵 pic.twitter.com/n8Lf0sEvRP
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 6, 2022