Roman Abramovich sanctions: The questions begging for answers

Roman Abrahimovic

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich received sanctions from the UK government on Thursday following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and his close ties to Vladimir Putin.

Abramovich has had his assets frozen and he will not be able to sell the club without approval from the government – the ownership of Chelsea can now only be changed if the oligarch does not profit from it.

Chelsea will still be able to operate under the terms of a special licence, allowing the Blues to complete their remaining games this season.

However, they are not allowed to make any further ticket sales (season ticket holders are still able to attend home matches, and all home and away tickets purchased before Thursday’s sanctions remain valid), they are effectively under a transfer embargo, and there is now a set limit on operating costs per game.

Chelsea must not exceed staging costs of £500,000 per home game, while away game travel costs have been capped at £20,000.

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The Blues are set to travel to Lille next week for the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie, so how will these sanctions impact that journey?


How will Chelsea travel to Lille?

The government have revealed that there will be some flexibility for Chelsea’s away day budget for European games.

Given that Lille is in the north of France, there are cost-saving measures that the club could implement. For example, they could travel across the English Channel via the Eurostar instead of private jet, while a fairly long coach trip wouldn’t be out of the question either.

However, keeping to within this budget could prove more difficult for longer-distance journeys should Chelsea reach the quarter-finals.


Where else might Chelsea have to travel to?

While English sides Liverpool and Manchester City have booked their place in the last eight, Spanish giants Real Madrid and German champions Bayern Munich are also in the hat.

Ajax, based in Amsterdam, are the closest foreign side remaining in the competition, though still have a second leg with Lisbon-based Benfica to see out first.

Elsewhere, Spanish sides Atletico Madrid and Villarreal could still qualify, while Turin club Juventus are also in the mix.


Has Chelsea’s domestic travel been covered?

Sky Sports‘ Kaveh Solhekol has revealed that a source close to a Chelsea player believes the club have paid in advance for their remaining domestic travel this season already, and should this be the case, then it is likely that they will continue to make these journeys as planned.

However, this is unlikely to help with European travel given Chelsea’s progression through the Champions League isn’t guaranteed and their opponents are not known until close to the set fixture dates.