By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
The Russian billionaire oligarch, Roman Abramovitch, and owner of Chelsea Football Club, has had all his UK assets frozen by the British Government in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It is alleged that he is a close supporter of President Vladimir Putin and, for this reason, he has been sanctioned. The British Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, upholding the sanctions, has stated as follows:
“Today’s sanctions show once again that oligarchs and kleptocrats have no place in our society.”
“With their close links to Putin they are complicit in his aggression.”
The sanctions mean that the proposed sale of the Club by Abramovich is put on hold, although it appears that he might be granted a special licence by the Government to proceed with the sale, provided that he does not benefit from it.
Also, all future sales of tickets for club matches have been frozen, as well as merchandise income, and the Club will not be able to do any business in the forthcoming Summer ‘transfer window’. It will also be impossible for the club to renegotiate contracts with existing players.
Furthermore, a limit of £20,000 on travel to away matches has been imposed and the club may only pay “reasonable costs” in respect of home fixtures.
The club has remarked as follows:
“If we aren’t allowed to continue operating normally, we will very quickly run into the red.”
The manager, Thomas Tuchel, has commented as follows:
“As long as we have enough shirts and a bus to drive to the games we will be there and will compete hard.”
Several club sponsors are considering their positions. In fact, the UK telecommunications company, ‘Three’, has suspended its £40 million per year sponsorship of the club and directed that its branding be removed from the team kit and also at the club’s ground, Stamford bridge.
The UK Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, has remarked, on the effects of the sanctions on Chelsea on English football, as follows:
“The important measures …… will clearly have a direct impact on Chelsea FC and its fans but we are working hard to make sure the club and the national game are not unnecessarily harmed.”
That, of course, remains to be seen!
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘
Sports Law & Taxation features: articles; comparative surveys; commentaries on topical sports legal and tax issues and documentation.
The unique feature of Sports Law & Taxation is that this Journal combines up-to-date valuable and must-have information on the legal and tax aspects of sport and their interrelationships.
Global Sports Law and Taxation Reports feature: articles; comparative surveys; commentaries on topical sports legal and tax issues and documentation.
The unique feature of Global Sports Law and Taxation Reports is that this Journal combines for the first time up to-date valuable and must-have information on the legal and tax aspects of sport and their interrelationships.
The editors of the Journal Sports Law & Taxation are Professor Ian Blackshaw and Dr Rijkele Betten, with specialist contributions from the world's leading practitioners and academics in the sports law and taxation fields.
Dr. Rijkele Betten
Prof. Dr. Ian S. Blackshaw
Prof. Guglielmo Maisto
Maisto e Associati, Milano
Mr. Kevin Offer
Hardwick & Morris LLP, London
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