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U.K. Sanctions Russian Billionaire Owner Of Chelsea FC, Putting Sale Of Club In Doubt

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich had his assets frozen on Thursday, effectively blocking his attempted sale of the Chelsea FC football club. 

The United Kingdom announced sanctions against Abramovich and six other Russian oligarchs on Thursday, as the U.K. government attempts to “isolate [Vladimir] Putin.” 

“Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has today (Thursday 10 March) announced a full asset freeze and travel ban on seven of Russia’s wealthiest and most influential oligarchs, whose business empires, wealth and connections are closely associated with the Kremlin,” the U.K. government said in a press release. 

“As part of the UK’s leading efforts to isolate Putin and those around him, these oligarchs – who have a collective net worth of around £15bn – will have their assets in the UK frozen, they are banned from travelling here and no UK citizen or company may do business with them,” the press release continued

Last week, Abramovich announced his intention to sell Chelsea Football Club, as questions around the 55 year old’s ties to Putin continued to arise following the invasion of Ukraine.  

“I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC,” Abramovich said in a statement. “As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the Club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners.”

The government announced that they have taken steps to allow Chelsea FC to continue with some “football-related activities,” even with the introduction of sanctions against the owner of the club.  

“Given the significant impact that today’s sanctions would have on Chelsea football club and the potential knock on effects of this, the Government has this morning published a licence which authorises a number of football-related activities to continue at Chelsea,” the press release said. “This includes permissions for the club to continue playing matches and other football related activity which will in turn protect the Premier League, the wider football pyramid, loyal fans and other clubs. This licence will only allow certain explicitly named actions to ensure the designated individual is not able to circumvent UK sanctions. The licence will be kept under constant review and we will work closely with the football authorities.”

With the government now controlling Abramovich’s assets, the proposed sale of the club could be next to impossible. 

Abramovich purchased Chelsea FC in 2003 for around $185 million, and is now seeking roughly $2.24 billion in the sale, according to ESPN. During Abramovich’s time as owner, Chelsea won two UEFA Champions League trophies — including the 2020-2021 title — and five Premier League titles. 

According to Bloomberg, the Russian billionaire is worth a reported $13.5 billion, and “amassed his wealth from dividends and sales of privatized assets acquired from the former Soviet Union.”

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to sports@dailywire.com.

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