The future of European and World champions Chelsea is shockingly uncertain after sanctions were placed on Russian owner Roman Abramovich on Thursday.
The sanctions, which are part of a broader government package imposed against six other oligarchs, are expected to apply as long as Abramovich owns the club before being lifted in the event of him selling it.
Under the sanctions Chelsea can:
- Play all their matches, home and away;
- Pay the salaries of players and staff;
- Provide stewards, security and food and drink for fans, subject to a £500,000 spending cap;
- Receive TV broadcasting revenues and prize money – although this will be frozen;
- Club sale could potentially still go ahead, as long as Abramovich does not benefit financially.
What Chelsea cannot do is:
- Sell tickets to home or away fans – only existing ticket holders will be allowed to attend;
- Agree any new transfers or contracts;
- Sell merchandise at the stadium or online;
- Spend more than £20,000 on away travel;
- Carry out any building work on Stamford Bridge.
Some of the financial limitations for Chelsea will need to be adjusted though. For example, the £20,000 maximum spend on away travel is too low. For example, Chelsea are expected to fly from London to Norwich at the weekend and the trip is set to cost ‘tens of thousands of pounds’.
Chelsea are also concerned about the maximum spend of £500,000 for hosting home games, which includes costs like stewarding, security and catering supplies.
The embargo on ticket sales will cost the club more than £600,000 a game, based on a £47 minimum ticket cost for the 12,834 seats at Stamford Bridge that are not already occupied by season ticket holders.
As if that was not bad enough, Chelsea’s main shirt sponsor, the telecom brand, Three, announced it has suspended its £40 million deal with the Blues saying:
‘In light of the government’s recently announced sanctions, we have requested Chelsea Football Club temporarily suspend our sponsorship of the club, including the removal of our brand from shirts and around the stadium until further notice.’