The UK has added Russian oligarch and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich to its list of sanctioned individuals as part of its efforts to "isolate" Russian President Vladimir Putin -- throwing the sale of the London club into doubt.
In a statement Thursday, the UK government said it was adding seven further oligarchs and politicians -- including Abramovich -- to its list of sanctioned individuals.
Abramovich announced this month he plans to sell Chelsea, as it is "in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club's sponsors and partners." This came after he declared he gave "stewardship" of the club over to trustees of the club's charitable foundation
But the new sanctions will see his assets frozen and will prohibit "transactions with UK individuals and businesses," the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said in a statement Thursday. The billionaire will also face a travel ban forbidding him to enter the UK.
The sanctions also heavily affect Chelsea. The club is to be issued a "special licence" that will allow matches to be played, "staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches," according to UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries. The measures mean that no further tickets will be allowed to be sold by the club and only season ticket holders and/or tickets already sold will be allowed to attend matches.
British Member of Parliament Chris Bryant had previously called for Abramovich to lose ownership of Chelsea after seeing a leaked 2019 UK government document that said Abramovich was of interest due to his "links to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices," the MP said in a Twitter post.
The UK is "absolutely determined" to sanction Russian oligarchs, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said this month, adding that the UK was working through "a further list" of oligarchs to sanction.
"There is nowhere for any of Putin's cronies to hide," Truss continued. Source: People Daily