The United Kingdom government has placed sanctions on Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich.
In a statement, the government said: “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.
“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.”
Sky Sports News also reported that Chelsea and government officials would meet on Thursday.
Abramovich has been sanctioned along with six of Russia’s wealthiest and most influential oligarchs, whose business empires, wealth and connections are closely associated with Vladimir Putin’s regime. They have a net worthworth of £15bn.
Those sanctioned are:
•Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea FC and has stakes in steel giant Evraz and Norilsk Nickel
•Oleg Deripaska has stakes in En+ Group
•Igor Sechin is the chief executive of Rosneft
•Andrey Kostin is chairman of VTB bank
•Alexei Miller is CEO of energy company Gazprom
•Nikolai Tokarev is president of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft
•Dmitri Lebedev is chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank Rossiya.
Abramovich, 55, has strongly been linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but he denies the allegations.
The UK however says Mr Abramovich, who has an estimated net worth of £9.4bn, is “one of the few oligarchs from the 1990s to maintain prominence under Putin”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine.
“Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people. We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies.”
“The government had come under pressure to sanction Mr Abramovich, who said he had made the “difficult decision” to sell Chelsea FC earlier this month.