Roman Abramovich has been disqualified as a director of Chelsea

Roman Abramovich is DISQUALIFIED as director of Chelsea by Premier League as government as sanctioned Russian billionaire pushes ahead with club’s sale after striking a deal with the Government

  • Chelsea owner Mr Abramovich disqualified as club director by league’s board
  • The decision comes after his assets were frozen under Ukraine war sanctions 
  • Chelsea could still be sold as it begs government to save them from financial evisceration

Roman Abramovich has been disqualified as a director of Chelsea, the Premier League has announced.     

The league’s board disqualified Mr Abramovich from running Chelsea after the club owner was sanctioned by the British government over Russia’s war on Ukraine. 

‘The board´s decision does not impact on the club´s ability to train and play its fixtures, as set out under the terms of a licence issued by the Government which expires on 31 May 2022,’ the league said.  

The Government claims the Russian oligarch, who has owned Chelsea since 2003, received financial benefits from the Kremlin, including tax breaks for his companies, the buying and selling of shares from and to the state at favourable rates. 

As well as contacts in the run up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

Roman Abramovich has been disqualified as a director of Chelsea, the Premier League has announced.

The UK has said the billionaire, who has owned Chelsea for 20 years, is ‘associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilising Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin’

Mr Abramovich is worth £10.4bn ($12.5bn), according to Forbes, and owns a £150m Kensington mansion, a £22m penthouse, and more than £1.2bn of yachts, private jets, helicopters and supercars based in Britain and around the world. He now cannot sell any of them

On Friday, Chelsea asked the Government to ease sanctions to save them from going bust in 17 days as ministers consider forcing through the club’s £3billion sale without Roman Abramovich giving permission or getting any of the cash. 

The premier league club have been handed a new licence to continue operations and the European champions are still locked in negotiations with the Government to ease restrictions.  

New York merchant bank the Raine Group has now assessed the terms of the licence and agreed a route forward for the sale with the Government, the PA news agency understands.

The Premier League board’s decision to disqualify Abramovich is unlikely to have any real impact given the sale process was already under way. 

It does not affect Chelsea’s ability to play matches. 

Technology minister Chris Philp told Times Radio on Friday that anyone who wants to buy the club can ‘approach the Government’.

He said: ‘No proposal would be accepted which saw the money, the proceeds of any sale, ending up in an unrestricted bank account owned by Abramovich. He can’t benefit from the proceeds of any sale.’   

The Russian-born oligarch owner had £3.2billion of UK assets frozen and told he can no longer press ahead with getting rid of the club for £3billion after 20 years in charge – and is not expected to get a penny. 

It could go instead to benefit Ukrainians and Russians through the Disasters Emergency Committee but not the charity the 55-year-old wanted to set up, ministers are considering.       

The Raine Group’s progression of the sale means Chelsea’s suitors can again push forward with their bids to take control of the European and world champions of the club game.

Mr Abramovich was understood to have been ready to work with Government oversight on the sale and, now the Raine Group has completed suitable checks, the interested parties can press on.

LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly remains well-placed for a purchase, with Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts also understood to be in the running.

Chelsea are in turmoil and may struggle to finish the season after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK

British property tycoon Nick Candy (left with his wife Holly Valance) though remains interested, while several bidders are preparing bids in excess of £2billion

British property tycoon Nick Candy has also confirmed his strong interest in buying the Blues and is in the process of building a consortium.

Chelsea saw several credit cards temporarily frozen on Friday amid a frenzied day of negotiations with the Government over the terms of their new operating licence.

Downing Street chiefs have said they are ready to amend the terms of the licence so Chelsea can operate as normally as possible while ensuring Mr Abramovich does not profit.

But Chelsea argue that Mr Abramovich did not profit from regular operations anyway, so are hopeful of a swift restoration of a number of currently restricted concerns.

Chelsea cannot sell any new tickets, leaving fans who have not got season tickets or pre-purchased tickets unable to attend future matches.

The Blues cannot sell any merchandise, including new match programmes, meaning vendors will not be able to work their shifts in Sunday’s Premier League clash against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.

Stephen Taylor Heath, Head of Sports Law at JMW Solicitors, said: ‘It may be possible, with Government involvement, for the club to be sold without Abramovich involvement. 

‘That would be similar to a sale of a club in administration where the administrator deals with the buyer and the club liaises with the governing body. If this were to happen though, the ‘administrator’ would need to have sufficient legal authority to sell the club. The administrator’s ability to do so is normally part of the administration process but they may need to be granted this authority by the Government. This may be subject to legal challenge’.

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