Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government; banned from transactions with UK individuals and businesses; Chelsea given special licence to continue to operate; Government want Chelsea sold as quickly as possible
Saturday 12 March 2022 12:47, UK
Chelsea's club credit cards have been temporarily suspended by Barclays in the wake of Roman Abramovich being sanctioned by the UK government.
Chelsea employees who have corporate credit cards are unable to use them at the moment. It was reported earlier this evening that the club's Barclays bank account had been frozen, but Chelsea now say that bank account is still operational this evening.
The Press Association reports Chelsea have had multiple accounts temporarily suspended while banks assess their operating licence.
The UK government on Thursday gave Chelsea a licence to continue with football-related activities after Abramovich had "his assets frozen, a prohibition on transactions with UK individuals and businesses, a travel ban and transport sanctions" imposed on him.
The sanctions are intended to stop the 55-year-old from making any money in the UK, but the government has granted Chelsea a special licence to allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches.
However, Chelsea cannot offer new contracts to players or staff, conduct any transfer business or sell new tickets to matches as things stand.
Chelsea are scheduled to play Newcastle United, live on Sky Sports, on Sunday.
The UK government wants Chelsea to be sold as quickly as possible as long it is satisfied Abramovich will not benefit from the transaction.
UK sanctions mean Abramovich is not allowed to sell Chelsea at the moment but the government is willing to issue a special license for the club to be sold.
At least 10 interested parties are still interested in buying the club and are in contact with investment bank The Raine Group, which is handling the sale.
The government is committed to making sure Chelsea have a long-term owner who will look after the best interests of the club. The government is also considering amending some of the restrictions it has placed on Chelsea so the club can stay in business.
At the moment, Chelsea are not allowed to sell tickets for home games or any club merchandise.
They are also only allowed to spend up £500,000 to stage home games and up to £20,000 on travel to away games.
Chelsea have asked the government to look again at the restrictions.
The government wants to make sure Chelsea are able to carry on their football-related activities.
Sky Sports News' Kaveh Solhekol reports: "Technically, Chelsea should not be in business at the moment as their owner is sanctioned in the United Kingdom.
"Roman Abramovich isn't allowed to conduct any business. But the government have given Chelsea a special licence as they are a culturally significant asset which will let them carry on their football-related activity. Chelsea believe those restrictions are too tight and they have been in talks with the government about changing those restrictions. Chelsea believe if these restrictions stay in place, they won't be able to complete the season."
Chelsea's shirt sponsor Three, the mobile phone and telecommunications company, says it has suspended its relationship with the club after the government announced sanctions on Abramovich.
A Three spokesperson said: "In light of the government's recently announced sanctions, we have requested Chelsea Football Club temporarily suspend our sponsorship of the club, including the removal of our brand from shirts and around the stadium until further notice.
"We recognise that this decision will impact the many Chelsea fans who follow their team passionately. However, we feel that given the circumstances, and the government sanction that is in place, it is the right thing to do.
"As a mobile network, the best way we can support the people of Ukraine is to ensure refugees arriving in the UK from the conflict and customers currently in Ukraine can stay connected to the people who matter to them. Therefore, we are offering connectivity packages to all Ukrainians arriving in the UK, and those in Ukraine."
Fellow sponsor Zapp has also paused its activities with the club.
A spokesperson said: "Given the ongoing uncertainty related to the ownership situation of Chelsea F.C., our marketing activities with the club have been paused.
"In the meantime, we trust that the UK government and Chelsea F.C. can find a solution that is in the interests of football fans and the local community as soon as possible."
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has told Sky Sports it is "hard to focus only on football" amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine and feels "very privileged" to be a Premier League coach.
In an interview with Sky Sports' Geoff Shreeves ahead of his side's Super Sunday clash with Newcastle, the German was asked what he has had time to reflect on in challenging circumstances.
"Maybe it has never been more true to live in the moment because everything else seems very, very difficult," he said.
"To understand the situation feels very difficult, to see where it is going is maybe impossible. So in the end we stick to the mantra to live in the moment and worship where we are.
"It is not easy, but it is out of our control. Sometimes it makes things more difficult, but sometimes more easy to accept we cannot do anything in the moment, to wait and to constantly adapt."
Speaking earlier on Friday, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp backed the government's decision to sanction Abramovich, but admitted he felt sorry for the club and Tuchel.
"Thomas and I know each other but we are not that close that we chat," he said. "Around the games, yes, but not in other moments.
"Of course I feel for him and the players and all the employees at Chelsea because it's obviously not a [nice] situation.
"It's nothing they are responsible for, what happens around. There is one man who is really responsible and that's Vladimir Putin.
"I don't know about Roman Abramovich's role in all these kind of things. But over the years you could guess that maybe he is pretty close.
"I think what the British government did is right, to be 100 per cent honest. But it is still not cool for the people at Chelsea and the supporters. I get that.
"But I think the things the government did are right."