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Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich sanctioned by UK Government

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK Government and had his assets frozen immediately.

The sanctions announced on Thursday mean the Russian mogul is unable to sell the club.

Abramovich had announced his intention to sell the London-based Premier League side last week.

Despite there being plenty of interest, however, the sanctions now mean that the Blues face an uncertain future.

The government has, however, granted Chelsea a special license to allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid, and existing ticket holders to attend matches.

This also apparently means no away fans at games.

“I know this brings some uncertainty, but the Government will work with the league & clubs to keep football being played while ensuring sanctions-hit those intended. Football clubs are cultural assets and the bedrock of our communities. We’re committed to protecting them,” Nadine Dorries, the minister for Sport and Culture tweeted.

Abramovich has been sanctioned along with six of Russia’s wealthiest and most influential oligarchs, whose business empires, wealth and connections are closely associated with Vladimir Putin’s regime.

“Abramovich is associated with a person who is/has been involved in destabilising Ukraine & undermining/threatening territorial integrity, sovereignty & independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin, with whom (he) has had close relationship for decades,” the UK government said in a statement.

Abramovich has long denied any association with Russian president Vladimir Putin but the government has now stated explicitly that he has been an associate “for decades”.

The 55-year-old, who bought Chelsea in 2003, had been looking to sell the club quickly and a deadline of March 15 had been set for interest to be registered.

Today is Chelsea’s 117th birthday.