On Thursday, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and six other Russian oligarchs were accused of having “blood on their hands,” becoming the latest tycoons to be sanctioned for ties to Vladimir Putin’s dictatorship.
The billionaire businessman, who has owned the Premier League team since 2003, was one of seven more oligarchs targeted by Britain in a “£15 billion sanctions hit,” with his assets blocked and a travel restriction to the UK enforced, according to the Government.
“The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said of the Kremlin-linked individuals.
They should be ashamed of themselves.”
Oleg Deripaska, Abramovich’s former business partner, is also among those sanctioned.
The action casts doubt on Chelsea’s future, as Abramovich will no longer be able to sell the club.
Despite the fact that Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries stated that a special licence will be issued to allow it to continue operating, the sale would not be possible at this time.
The Treasury may offer the club a fresh licence to aid its sale, according to Downing Street.
The club will still be able to play games and pay its employees, but trading players appears to be out of the question.
Season ticket holders can still attend games, but the club is no longer able to sell more tickets.
Following the announcement, Three announced that it will reconsider its £40 million a year shirt sponsorship arrangement with Chelsea.
The goal, according to Ms Dorries, is to prevent Abramovich from “benefiting from his ownership of the team.”
The 55-year-old tycoon is worth more than £9 billion and is accused of having close relations to Russian President Vladimir Putin, which he denies.
In addition to Abramovich, the government has issued penalties against billionaire oil mogul Deripaska, CEO of Russian energy giant Rosneft, Igor Sechin, chairman of VTB bank Andrey Kostin, and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.
It comes as Western authorities believe the strong economic sanctions imposed on Russia in the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine are beginning to bear fruit.
The value of the rouble has plummeted, and Fitch Ratings has warned that Russia may default on its obligations.
The US, UK, and EU ratcheted up the pressure this week by declaring intentions to phase out the usage of Russian oil and gas.
Despite this, Boris Johnson’s government has been chastised for failing to act quickly enough to prosecute Russian oligarchs with deep ties to Putin’s regime.
Despite the fact that the US and EU have identified scores of wealthy Russian businessmen, Ms Truss has confessed that the UK’s higher legal bar for applying sanctions has hampered the process.
With Thursday’s action, the government has sanctioned a total of 22 people since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich and the other six billionaires will be barred from entering the United Kingdom, and no British citizen or firm will be allowed to conduct business with them.
Sofia Abramovich, 27, inset, uploaded an anti-Putin meme on social media following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Bidders for Chelsea have been in talks with Abramovich’s advisers for the past several days, with property mogul Nick Candy reportedly among those drafting a £4 billion offer for the club.