Premier League Strips Abramovich Of Chelsea Directorship, Approve Sale Of Club.
After being sanctioned by the British government for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Premier League board has banned Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich as a director at the English top-flight soccer club, the league announced in a statement on Saturday.
After coming under fire following Russia’s invasion, Abramovich announced last week that he was selling the London club. Chelsea is now operating on a special government license, which has put the sale on hold.
“The Board’s decision does not impact on the club’s ability to train and play its fixtures, as set out under the terms of a licence issued by the Government which expires on 31 May 2022,” the league said.
The government welcomed the move, and said it was not opposed to the sale of the club. It added that it had amended the special licence so that the club could spend £900,000 to stage each of its matches.
“We welcome the Premier League’s action to disqualify Roman Abramovich as a Director of the football club. The Government has made clear that we need to hold to account those who have enabled the Putin regime,” a spokesman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said.
“We are open to a sale of the club and would consider an application for a licence to allow that to happen,” he added.
The team may continue to play games and pay players and personnel, but they are unable to add or remove players since the government is attempting to prevent Abramovich from benefitting in any manner from such changes.
Chelsea was acquired by Abramovich for a reputed 140 million pounds ($182.5 million) in 2003, and his investment culminated in the club’s most successful period in its history, with the team winning five Premier League crowns, five FA Cups, and twice the Champions League.
Chelsea’s primary jersey sponsor, mobile network Three, has halted its relationship with the team, while another, Trivago, has stated that it would continue to support the club.
Russia claims its activities in Ukraine are a “special military operation” aimed at destroying Ukraine’s military capability and apprehending “dangerous nationalists,” rather than occupying territory.
According to Abramovich’s place on the British sanctions list, he is “a renowned Russian billionaire and pro-Kremlin oligarch” who has had “a close association with Russian President Vladimir Putin for decades.” Abramovich has vehemently denied any such links.
On Sunday, Chelsea will visit Newcastle United, who are now third in the league with 56 points from 27 games.