By Ivan Mwine
The future for Chelsea FC is uncertain ever since Russia invaded Ukraine in a war that has been raging on for several days.
The uncertainty of Chelsea’s future comes after the United Kingdom issued sanctions against the club owner Roman Abramovich and seven other Russian moguls.
The sanctions against Abramovich has seen all his assets frozen including the English Premier League soccer club Chelsea, as part of a broader sanctions effort that targets assets owned by several Russian oligarchs with close ties to Vladimir Putin’s regime.
Sources in the UK reveal that a notification issued by the Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation indicates that Abramovich has been targeted for his association with Putin and his government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, while announcing the sanctions said: “There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine…We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies.”
The U.K. government however, said in a statement announcing the sanctions that it has published a special license to allow Chelsea to continue playing matches and engage in other soccer related activities.
However, the government will constantly review this license which only allows certain “explicitly named actions,” to ensure that Abramovich is not able to circumvent U.K sanctions.
It should be noted that Abramovich is one of the seven high-profile Russian moguls targeted by Thursday’s sanctions, including Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, En+ Group’s Oleg Deripaska, VTB Bank chairman Andrey Kostin, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, among others.
The government’s statement also noted that a new Economic Crime Bill will go into effect next week and will “significantly simplify” the process of imposing sanctions.
Currently, the U.K government’s updated sanctions list includes 65 individuals and entities linked to the Russian government.
The sanctions however come at a time when Abramovich announced that he is selling Chelsea FC although he is yet to get a buyer.