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Chelsea shirt sponsor Three suspends deal after Abramovich sanction

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Roman Abramovich has been added to a list of sanctioned individuals by the UK Government as part of the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The Russian billionaire, 55, has had his assets frozen, meaning he will be no longer be able to sell Chelsea as planned.

Abramovich, who allegedly has close ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin, put the Blues up for sale on March 2.

The European and world champions have been granted a special sporting licence to continue operating but will be severely impacted financially.

This includes being unable to sell tickets, meaning only season ticket holders will be able to attend games at Stamford Bridge for the foreseeable future, and shutting the club shop.

With a number of players out of contract in the summer, including skipper Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen, it remains to be seen how the latest development will affect the squad.

A Government statement confirmed: “Given the significant impact that today’s sanctions would have on Chelsea and the potential knock-on effects of this, the Government has this morning published a licence which authorises a number of football-related activities to continue at Chelsea.

“This includes permissions for the club to continue playing matches and other football-related activity which will in turn protect the Premier League, the wider football pyramid, loyal fans and other clubs.

“This licence will only allow certain explicitly named actions to ensure the designated individual is not able to circumvent UK sanctions. The licence will be kept under constant review and we will work closely with the football authorities.”

What does the special licence mean for Chelsea?

– The wages of all employees, including players and coaching staff, can be paid. 

– The club can pay ‘reasonable’ costs of travel to and from fixtures but not exceeding £20,000 per game per team. 

– Chelsea can pay ‘reasonable’ costs towards hosting home fixtures, not exceeding £500,000 per fixture per team. 

– Fans who bought season tickets or individual match tickets before March 10 can attend games. 

– Any fixture involving the club can be broadcast.

The end of an era

Abramovich has changed the face of British football during his time as Chelsea owner, overseeing a haul of 21 trophies in 19 years in a clean sweep of all global competitions.

The Blues head to Premier League basement boys Norwich this evening on the back of a 4-0 win over Burnley last Saturday.

And boss Thomas Tuchel is adamant his players are determined to add to the Club World Cup and Super Cup trophies they have already lifted this season — despite the ongoing turmoil of the pitch.

The German tactician, who saw his side lose the Carabao Cup final to Liverpool last month, said: “We are still in third place [in the league], we are still in the FA Cup, we are still in the Champions League, so there’s no need to be disappointed.

“We still have a lot to fight for. The race continues.”

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