Roman Abramovich Disqualified as Chelsea FC Director, Premier League Board Says
12:19 GMT 12.03.2022 (Updated: 13:17 GMT 12.03.2022)
© AP Photo / Matt DunhamIn this file photo dated Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich sits in his box before the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge stadium in London. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has received Israeli citizenship after his British visa has not been renewed. An Israeli Immigration and Absorption Ministry official says the Chelsea soccer club owner arrived in Israel Monday and was granted citizenship in accordance with an Israeli law granting that right to people of Jewish descent
© AP Photo / Matt Dunham
The entrepreneur is among seven Russian billionaires to have been sanctioned by the United Kingdom in response to Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine, which the Kremlin has said is aimed at de-Nazifying the country.
The Premier League board has disqualified Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich as director of Chelsea. "The board’s decision does not impact on the club’s ability to train and play its fixtures, as set out under the terms of a licence issued by the Government which expires on 31 May 2022", a statement from the league read.
The board added that its decision would not impact the sale of Chelsea, which is expected to occur with government oversight.
Last week, Roman Abramovich announced that he plans to sell the club, saying the move "is in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners".
The Russian entrepreneur said he would donate all the proceeds to "victims of the war in Ukraine". This includes providing critical funds for the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting long-term recovery work.
UK media wrote that Abramovich was selling the club as well as other assets in the United Kingdom to avoid sanctions in regards to Russia’s special operation in Ukraine.
The op began on 24 February, and according to President Vladimir Putin is aimed at de-Nazifying Kiev as well as protecting residents of the two breakaway regions – the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics – from genocide waged by Ukraine’s leadership.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky rejected Putin’s statement about Nazis being present in the country and called Moscow’s special operation a “full-scale invasion”. Many Western nations have sided with Ukraine and slapped the harshest sanctions on Moscow to date.
The punitive measures target the banking sector, businesses, the country’s oil and gas exports, as well as individuals that the West claims are close to President Vladimir Putin.
The United Kingdom has sanctioned seven Russian billionaires, including Roman Abramovich. London said it froze his assets and introduced a prohibition on transactions with UK individuals and businesses, a travel ban, and transport sanctions.
The punitive measures hit the club’s ability to earn money, as they include a ban on the sale of tickets to new games, a ban on the sale of merchandise, and a freeze on the revenues the Blues get from broadcasters. They also affect the ability to buy and sell players as well as extend existing contracts. This potentially opens the door to several players leaving the club this summer as free agents.