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Government sanction Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government – meaning he is now unable to sell the club.

Abramovich has had “his assets frozen, a prohibition on transactions with UK individuals and businesses, a travel ban and transport sanctions” imposed on him. There is now doubt as to whether he will be able to sell the club due to the restrictions he is under.

The government have granted Chelsea a special license “which authorises a number of football related activities to continue. This includes permissions for the club to continue playing matches and other football-related activity which will in turn protect the Premier League, the wider football pyramid, loyal fans and other clubs”.

Sky Sports News understands that Chelsea and government officials will meet on Thursday.

Abramovich has been sanctioned along with six of Russia’s wealthiest and most influential oligarchs, whose business empires, wealth and connections are closely associated with Vladimir Putin’s regime. They have a net worth of £15bn.

Those sanctioned today are:

. Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea FC and has stakes in steel giant Evraz and Norilsk Nickel
. Oleg Deripaska has stakes in En+ Group
. Igor Sechin is the chief executive of Rosneft
. Andrey Kostin is chairman of VTB bank
. Alexei Miller is CEO of energy company Gazprom
. Nikolai Tokarev is president of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft
. Dmitri Lebedev is chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank Rossiya

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine.

“Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people. We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “Today’s sanctions show once again that oligarchs and kleptocrats have no place in our economy or society. With their close links to Putin they are complicit in his aggression.

“The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands. They should hang their heads in shame.

“Our support for Ukraine will not waver. We will not stop in this mission to ramp up the pressure on the Putin regime and choke off funds to his brutal war machine.

“These sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s response to Putin’s illegal and unprovoked invasion, designed to ensure he fails in Ukraine by crippling Russia’s economy supporting his war machine.

“The UK has been at the forefront of this effort, shutting out large proportions of whole sectors of the Russian economy, such as its defence industry, its financial institutions and its transport sector.

“The UK has already sanctioned more than 200 of Russia’s most significant and high-value individuals, entities and subsidiaries since the invasion, with over 500 of them now covered by the UK’s sanctions list.

“The Economic Crime Bill coming into force next week will also significantly simplify the process of imposing sanctions, allow the UK to more easily sanction individuals, stop oligarchs threatening the UK with multimillion pound lawsuits for damages at the taxpayer’s expense and also allow the UK to mirror allies’ designations.

“The UK will keep going further, faster and deeper to punish Putin’s regime for this callous war.

“The UK will continue to lead global efforts to provide Ukraine with economic, diplomatic, humanitarian and defensive support.

“Given the significant impact that today’s sanctions would have on Chelsea football club and the potential knock on effects of this, the Government has this morning published a licence which authorises a number of football-related activities to continue at Chelsea. This includes permissions for the club to continue playing matches and other football related activity which will in turn protect the Premier League, the wider football pyramid, loyal fans and other clubs. This licence will only allow certain explicitly named actions to ensure the designated individual is not able to circumvent UK sanctions. The licence will be kept under constant review and we will work closely with the football authorities.”

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