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What happens to Chelsea's season? The implications of Abramovich's sanctions

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Chelsea face an uncertain future after the UK government moved to sanction owner Roman Abramovich.

The decision comes at a time when a number of bidders had expressed an interest in buying the club from the Russian billionaire.

That cannot proceed – in the short term, at least.

And no new revenue can be generated whilst the club is effectively under UK Government control.

Asset freeze

Chelsea cannot sell any tickets or merchandise for upcoming games though season ticket holders will still be allowed to attend matches.

No new contracts or transfers for new players may be completed and the travel budget for the club is also reduced to £20,000 per match.

Shirt sponsors Three have also frozen their £120 million agreement whilst other sponsors such as Nike, Hyundai and Zapp are reviewing the situation.

Chelsea could face a nine-point penalty if the club end up in administration due to lack of income.

  • Club cannot be sold
  • Sponsors freeze £120 million deal
  • Club face nine point penalty
  • Travel budget reduced to £20,000 per match
  • 10 players out of contract in the summer

The Blues also face the prospect of losing star players such as club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger for nothing come the end of the season. They are three of ten players who will be out of contract in July.

“Chelsea will be able to pay wages due at the end of March,” financial journalist Kieran Maguire told the BBC.

"Chelsea's wage bill is round about £28m a month. We don't know how much cash they have in the bank. The most recent accounts we have are from June 2021 when there was £16m in the bank. Abramovich has been injecting money into Chelsea on a regular basis over recent years and presumably that won't be able to continue.

"The concern might be what happens if Chelsea's cash reserves are insufficient to pay their wage bill."

Fans have reacted with dismay to the implications for the club.

However, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries hit back, saying: “If it (Chelsea) sells tickets and it sells merchandise, Abramovich who owns the club, will benefit. That can’t happen.

“Our focus was on protecting the club and the national game, and the fans, that was our focus and we think we’ve done that by the licence measures that we’ve put in place.

Asked about the detrimental impact sanctions could have on Chelsea's future, Dorries said: “Well sanctions have consequences and that’s a fact.

"Abramovich has links to Putin who is mounting a barbaric and evil attack against the people of Ukraine. This government, we in this department, stand with the people of Ukraine.”

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