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Chelsea FC’s accounts temporarily frozen amid Abramovich sanctions


Chelsea have had several accounts temporarily frozen as banks assess the Stamford Bridge club’s new operating licence.

Roman Abramovich’s British government sanctions have frozen all the billionaire’s British assets barring Chelsea, with the club continuing to operate under special and stringent conditions.

Owner Abramovich was sanctioned on Thursday after the Conservative government said it had proven the 55-year-old’s links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich has always denied links to Russia’s current regime, but Putin’s war in Ukraine has led to a major geopolitical shift.

Chelsea’s strict licence is designed to ensure Abramovich will not profit amid the Stamford Bridge club’s continued operations.

Ticket sales have been banned and an embargo placed on new transfers and new contracts for existing stars.

And those new government regulations have led banks to hit pause on a number of Chelsea accounts on a short-term basis to seek more detail on that licence.

Chelsea are understood to be hopeful the suspensions will be lifted shortly, moving the west London club closer back towards normal operation.

The club’s chiefs were understood to have been locked in negotiations with government officials throughout Friday on amendments to that new licence.

Chelsea expect negotiations with Downing Street to continue into next week as the two parties thrash out an easing of the restrictions.

The Premier League club are thought to have their travel and accommodation bills already paid for the rest of this season for existing fixtures, but this does not cover cup competitions.

The Blues are slated to face Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium in the FA Cup quarter-finals on March 19.

Under the current rules, Chelsea cannot sell any new tickets for that match, which would severely hit second-tier club Middlesbrough’s gate revenue.

Chelsea cannot sell any new match programmes for Sunday’s Premier League home clash with Newcastle United, so vendors are thought to be unable to work at Stamford Bridge.

Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine, with his ownership set to end after 19 years and 21 trophies.

Abramovich had pledged to write off the club’s debt and plough all sale proceeds into a new charitable foundation to aid victims of the war in Ukraine.

Chelsea’s current licence terms have paused the club’s sale.

But the government is understood to be ready to take control of the process, or oversee a transfer of ownership carried out by Abramovich.

British property tycoon Nick Candy’s vision for a redeveloped Stamford Bridge could hand the billionaire an edge in that process.

A spokesperson for Candy on Friday confirmed the 49-year-old’s continued interest in Chelsea.

“We are examining the details of yesterday’s announcement and we are still interested in making a bid,” said Candy’s spokesperson.

A host of US investors still harbour interest in Chelsea, with Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly part of one consortium.

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is another one with a strongly-rumoured interest.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said he would be open to Chelsea wearing a symbol of peace in place of regular shirt sponsor Three’s logo.

Mobile phone company Three has paused its Chelsea shirt sponsorship in the wake of Blues owner Abramovich falling under British government sanctions.

“We can always wear a message for peace and it can never be the wrong message,” said Tuchel.

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