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Chelsea's bank account frozen by Barclays as Abramovich sanctions leave club in turmoil
11 March 2022, 20:04
Chelsea FC have had their bank account frozen after its Russian owner Roman Abramovich was hit by sanctions over his links to Vladimir Putin.
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Barclays says it's still assessing a government license, which is supposed to allow them to continue football-related activities.
The club has also been blocked from selling merchandise or signing players, while Three has suspended its sponsorship deal.
Abramovich was one of seven oligarchs hit with sanctions valued up to £15bn, the government said on Thursday.
The Russian oligarch has had his assets frozen, and has been prohibited from carrying out transactions with UK individuals and businesses. He also faces a travel ban and 'transport sanctions,' the government said.
It has left his West London club, who he transformed with enormous investment into part of the elite of English and European football, in chaos.
Reports have suggested the club is at risk of going bust if it is not sold before a licence expires at the end of May.
Chelsea fans were criticised after they chanted the club owner's name during the 3-1 away win to Norwich last night.
Downing Street issued a statement, reminding fans of the allegation that Abramovich has supported the Putin regime.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: "We understand the strength of feelings that Chelsea fans will have and the passion for their club, but it's important to remember that these sanctions are being imposed on those who have provided support to the Putin regime and the brutal assault on Ukraine."
It comes after Three, the club's kit sponsor, said it would be ending its deal with the Premier League team.
The mobile phone company said it was the "right thing to do" given Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine.
A spokesman said its brand will be removed from the team's shirts and around the stadium until further notice.
Abramovich had tried to distance himself from the club after the Russian invasion of Ukraine triggered a series of Western sanctions against oligarchs, saying he had placed it in the hands of a trust.
It appears the new measures have put any attempt at selling Chelsea to new owners on ice for now. The Telegraph said the Government would have to approve any sale.