Chelsea owner Abramovich hit with sanctions by UK government as sale of Blues put in doubt

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The sale of Chelsea is now up in the air as the UK government imposed sanctions on Roman Abramovich, with the Russian billionaire's assets now frozen.

Abramovich had announced his intention to sell the London-based Premier League club last week.

Despite there being plenty of interest, however, the sanctions now mean that the Blues face an uncertain future.

Why has Abramovich been sanctioned?

Abramovich has been penalised as part of the British government's sanctions on numerous high-profile Russians who have ties to president Vladimir Putin, who ordered the recent invasion of Ukraine.

HM Treasury's Office of Financial Sanctions released a statement on Thursday which, in part, reads: "Roman Arkadyevich ABRAMOVICH (hereafter ABRAMOVICH) is a prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch.

"ABRAMOVICH is associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilising Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin, with whom ABRAMOVICH has had a close relationship for decades.

"This association has included obtaining a financial benefit or other material benefit from Putin and the Government of Russia.

"This includes tax breaks received by companies linked to ABRAMOVICH, buying and selling shares from and to the state at favourable rates, and the contracts received in the run up to the FIFA 2018 World Cup.

"Therefore, ABRAMOVICH has received preferential treatment and concessions from Putin and the Government of Russia."

What do Abramovich sanctions mean for Chelsea?

Chelsea are now in limbo, with Abramovich having hoped to sell the Stamford Bridge club before the sanctions were imposed.

GOAL has learned that the club can still be sold, however, provided none of the proceeds go to Abramovich.

Meanwhile, culture secretary Nadine Dorries has said that Chelsea will be issued with a "special licence" which means all football-related activities, such as Thursday's clash with Norwich, can go ahead.

However, the club cannot sell tickets for matches, meaning only season ticket holders will be able to attend games in person.

What has been said?

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a statement following the news, which reads: "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."

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