The UK wants Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich gone.
The English Premiere League, which is one of the highest rated soccer circuits on the globe, is entering uncharted territory. The United Kingdom is running Chelsea, a club that is presently owned by Roman Abramovich who is a Russian billionaire with close ties to Russia President Vladimir Putin. England has seized the business. Abramovich was looking to sell the franchise after he was placed on the UK list of sanctions. The British government has ordered the Chelsea football team to stop conducting virtually all of its business operations. Chelsea cannot sell tickets or sign players. A Chelsea-owned hotel near the team’s west London stadium cannot offer any rooms. The official team store was suddenly closed. Season ticket holders are able to attend matches until the end of the season. No new money will flow into the team.
The U. K. and other countries are trying to inflict as much monetary damage on Russia as possible as well as attempting to isolate Russian elites. The U.K. government put out a document about the decision which was published by the Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation that shed more light on the government’s thinking. “Abramovich is associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilizing Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin, with whom Abramovich has had a close relationship for decades. This association has included obtaining a financial benefit or other material benefit from Putin and the Government of Russia.” A New York merchant bank has been appointed to handle the sale, set a deadline of March 15th for interested parties to submit bids for Chelsea. Barclays’ bank has temporarily suspended Chelsea’s bank account while it assesses the team’s status. Chelsea, according to Forbes, is the seventh-most-valuable soccer team in the world worth $3.2 billion.
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