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Chelsea sale put on hold

Chelsea sale put on hold following UK sanctions against Abramovich

March 10, 2022 By Michelle Bonsu
The billionaire businessman's plans to sell the club he's owned for nearly two decades have now been put on hold following sanctions imposed by the UK government.

Just when people thought that the drama surrounding Chelsea and its owner had finally neared its conclusion, this story has a whole new chapter.

Due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, pressure had been mounting on Blues owner Roman Abramovich to first step back, and then sell the club as a result of his connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The 55-year-old first purchased Chelsea back in June 2003, and under his stewardship the Blues have won 18 titles, including two Champions League and two Europa League trophies as well as the Premier League and FA Cup on five occasions.

In short, the Blues have been transformed into one of the most successful teams not just in England, but in Europe.

However, these are uncertain times, and following the outbreak in war in Eastern Europe, Abramovich, like many other Russian oligarchs, was put under a negative spotlight due to their associations with Putin. As a result, on February 26th, he announced that he was handing over governance of the club to the Chelsea Charitable Foundation.

That still didn't satisfy those calling for more action to be taken, so on March 2nd, he announced he'd be selling the club. Despite Abramovich denying that he is not currently in close contact with Putin, the pressure continued to mount, thus forcing him to part with the club he'd been in charge of for nearly 20 years.

Interestingly, back in January 2022, a Forbes report noted that Abramovich had a form of "sanction insurance"; in short, $2 billion in loans he'd given Chelsea over the years, including a $26 million loan given to the club following their Champions League win last year. This means that if all goes sideways, he could basically call in the loan, which would be a significant hit for the Blues considering that they're valued at approximately $3.2 billion as of 2021.

In any case, the plans to sell the club have now hit a snag, as the UK government have nonetheless slapped him with sanctions, thus freezing his assets and making it impossible, at this point to sell the club. While the Blues won't be impacted on the pitch as they will still be able to take part in domestic and continental competitions, this means that the new owner (or owners) of the London giants won't be decided for some time.

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