The future of Chelsea FC has been plunged into uncertainty after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government today.
Abramovich has had his assets frozen because of his links to Russia and its prime minister Vladimir Putin, and that has major ramifications for the Premier League club’s operations and his plan to sell it.
Here is what the sanctions mean for a possible sale as well as transfers, player wages and tickets.
Can Roman Abramovich sell Chelsea now?
Chelsea have been granted a special license to continue some football-related activities but the current terms of that license do not allow for a sale.
However, the government is understood to be open to a sale taking place – as long as Abramovich does not benefit in any way.
Chelsea would need to apply for permission to have their license amended accordingly.
Any proceeds from a sale would be frozen as long as Abramovich remained under sanctions.
In a further hurdle to any sale, the sanctions prevent any UK citizen or company from doing business with him or Chelsea.
Can Chelsea still play matches?
Yes, their license allows them to continue key football-related activities including playing matches.
They are allowed to cover the cost of staging matches at Stamford Bridge, up to £500,000 per game.
Chelsea may also pay travel costs of up to £20,000 per game for attending away fixtures.
This could cause problems for next week’s Champions League trip to Lille, which would normally cost around £30,000 according to football industry insiders.
Can Chelsea buy and sell players?
No. The licence does not allow for that.
Chelsea could apply for permission as part of a new licence but there is no indication that it would be granted.
Can Chelsea offer their players new contracts?
No, for the same reason as above. That could mean losing players such as Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen, whose current deals expire in the summer.
Can Chelsea pay their players and coaches?
Yes, the special license that they have been granted allows them to continue paying players, coaches and other staff according to any contracts that were previously in effect. This applies to the men’s and women’s teams.
However, they may be in danger of running out of money with which to pay wages if the asset freeze continues in the long term.
Can Chelsea continue to sell tickets and merchandise?
No, they have been banned from selling any further tickets and the club shop has been closed.
Season ticket holders will still be allowed to attend matches.