With the war between Russia and Ukraine escalating, the resultant effects are becoming palpable gradually across the world. Apart from hindering humanitarian measures, the domino effect can be seen in the sports domain as well. The latest casualty of the punitive sanctions against the Russian regime has been one of the most celebrated clubs in the English Premier League, Chelsea. The “Blues” have been taken aback by the UK Government’s latest decision to put curbs on businessmen with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, with their owner Roman Abramovich falling in the category that the British want to target. This has brought about a cloud of uncertainty into the future of the “Blues”. So, let us understand what the sanction would mean for Chelsea going forward.
Restrictions Regarding Travel Costs Of Away Games
The seventh most valuable club in international football as per Forbes, Chelsea presently functions on the basis of a special licence given by the UK Government. This would offer the club the freedom to keep paying its players and support staff and also bear the expense for the scheduling matches at Stamford Bridge.
But the only hitch is the ceiling with regard to travel costs for away games which have been fixed at £20,000 per match. This would drastically affect their upcoming away games in the Champions League, especially the one in Lille, France, next week. The fresh rules even mandate the club to spend not more than 500,000 pounds ($657,000) on each match at Stamford Bridge and this is inclusive of security and catering as well.
Sale In Suspension For The Time Being
Fearing sanctions Abramovich was planning to sell the club last week but with the current sanction in place, the option of sale has gone out of the equation for him. However, a close aide of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had suggested granting a special licence to facilitate the process of the sale. In the absence of any clarity on the same, the owner can simply keep his fingers crossed for now. But there is a silver lining as well, there is no bar on getting money from other clubs as part of an existing loan or for organising the player sale.
No Negotiations With Players For The Time Being
This has to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the club in the event of the new sanction. It will no longer be permitted to buy or sell new players with the present license. Also, talks with players whose contracts are about to expire this season must be ceased temporarily. This has compounded the woes of its players such as Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen among others.
Caveat For Merchandising
With regard to jerseys and merchandising, third parties who bought or created club merchandise before March 10 will be permitted to dispose of their present products. But there is a catch as well: neither Chelsea nor Abramovich will be able to access the funds or other monetary gains.
Even The Fans Aren’t Spared
Even fans could not escape the fall out of the government sanctions. Those in possession of tickets till the end of the season can attend the matches, however, the ones devoid of the same would remain likewise for a while. The biggest jolt will be to the away fans as they will not be able to get tickets for the future games coming up at Stamford Bridge stadium.
Under Abramovich, the Blues have flourished greatly as they got two Champions League and five Premier League titles, apart from securing Club World Cup last month. It is also to be noted that this is not the first time that Abramovich has fallen foul of the UK. He had been banned previously from the country when he took back his visa application after a crackdown on Russian tycoons by the country over the poisoning incident involving ex Russian spy and his daughter.
So, the Chelsea owner is no stranger to controversy. Also, Abramovich is yet to criticize Russia for launching the offensive against Ukraine, almost confirming his proximity to the top Russian leadership. Hence, at this juncture, one can only hope that Chelsea’s future in league games does not get badly affected by the current political climate.