Chelsea FC Owner Roman Abramovich Gets Hit With UK Sanctions, Will Have Assets Frozen

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Russian oligarch and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich has been added to the U.K.’s sanction list of high-profile Russian individuals in a bid to ramp up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich will have his assets frozen and will be prohibited from making any transactions with U.K. individuals or businesses, the U.K. government said in a Thursday press release. The U.K. also announced a travel ban and transport sanctions on Abramovich.

Abramovich announced earlier in March that he planned to sell Chelsea “in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners,” according to CNN.

Under the sanctions, Chelsea will still be allowed to “fulfill its fixtures and carry out football business” such as paying staff and players, but the club may not buy and sell new players or tickets to any more games, according to CNN. Individuals who hold existing tickets can still attend the games.

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST), a non-profit independent trust created to pressure the club’s board to listen to all supporter interests, said the sanctions are concerning.

“Supporters MUST be involved in any conversation regarding ongoing impacts on the club and its global fan base,” the CST tweeted. (RELATED: Of All The Sanctions Against Putin, Losing His Taekwondo Blackbelt May Embarrass Him Most)

“The CST implores the Government to conduct a swift process to minimize the uncertainty over Chelsea’s future, for supporters and for supporters to be given a golden share as part of a sale of the club.”

Others added to the sanctions list include a former business partner of Abramovich, industrialist Oleg Deripaska, as well as Putin’s “right-hand man Igor Sechin and 4 more of Putin’s inner circle.”

“As part of the U.K.’s leading efforts to isolate Putin and those around him, these oligarchs – who have a collective net worth of around £15 billion – will have their assets in the U.K. frozen, they are banned from traveling here and no UK citizen or company may do business with them,” a statement from the UK government read.

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,” he added. “We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies.”