Despite the UK’s Economic Crime Bill coming into force next week giving the Government the opportunity to move even more quickly when it comes to sanctions, we’ve seen today Roman Abramovich’s assets frozen, a prohibition on transactions with UK individuals and businesses, a travel ban, and transport sanctions imposed.
This includes his prized asset Chelsea Football Club.
The impact on the club and its potential sale is unprecedented however, the Government have issued an interim licence on the basis that the club is “a significant cultural asset which has the effect of allowing Chelsea to “fulfil its fixtures and carry out football business”.
It’s not going to be easy, as the club can’t enter into transfer deals for new players or receive money for selling existing players, renegotiate or issue new contracts to existing players.
From the fans perspective they can’t buy any new tickets to upcoming games, only season ticket holders can go to games for the foreseeable future, nor can they buy any merchandise.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries told the BBC “Our focus here is to ensure we apply the licence in order to protect the game, the club and its fans,”
The club had already been put up for sale with Abramovich promising that the ‘net proceeds of sale’ would be donated to victims of the war in Ukraine, which for now is on hold.
Will this action taken by the Government prevent a sale of the club?
Unlikely, as the Government is open to considering a further addition to the special licence which will allow the sale of the club.
We await further developments.
For those interested a copy of the Government’s special licence can be found below.