June 23, 2024

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Saudi Media Group bid to buy club as fans ordered to stop chanting for Roman Abramovich

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Chelsea continue to deal with the fallout of owner Roman Abramovich being disqualified as a director of the club and sanctioned by the UK government for his links to Vladimir Putin after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the EU are set to hit the Russian with further sanctions on Monday.

The UK government initially brought sanctions against the owner last Thursday but despite Abramovich’s assets being frozen, Chelsea were handed a new licence to continue “football-related activities” and are in negotiations with the government to amend some aspects of it.

A statement from the league on Saturday read: “Following the imposition of sanctions by the UK government, the Premier League Board has disqualified Roman Abramovich as a director of Chelsea Football Club. The board’s decision does not impact on the club’s ability to train and play its fixtures, as set out under the terms of a licence issued by the government which expires on 31 May 2022.”

The disqualification of an owner by the Premier League would normally trigger the sale of their shareholding, however Abramovich had already publicly announced his intention to sell the club and a process has begun with bidders told to press on with submissions. A number are understood to be interested including LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly, Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and British property tycoon Nick Candy.

Chelsea adviser Petr Cech admitted he is unsure if the club will be able to finish the season, while on the pitch, Chelsea beat Newcastle 1-0 on Sunday and although head coach Thomas Tuchel promised to see out the campaign at Stamford Bridge, he refused to commit to the club in the longer term.

Table of Contents

Chelsea FC latest – Roman Abramovich

Barcelona eye surprise move for Romelu Lukaku as ‘last resort’

15:54 , Michael Jones

Barcelona are considering a surprise move for Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku this summer, according to reports for AS in Spain.

There are doubts over the futures of Ousmane Dembele, Memphis Depay, Martin Braithwaite and Luuk de Jong, with president Joan Laporta aiming to overhaul the squad. The Catalan giants are intent on rebuilding their squad under Xavi and have their sights set on signing a big name forward.

They are interested in signing Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland this summer, with his £63million (€75m) release clause too good an opportunity to ignore but Barca ‘openly admit’ they are behind Manchester City in the race for the 21-year-old goalscorer, so are keeping in mind other options.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is the second choice target and the fact he is out of contract in June 2023, leads Barca to believe they could get him at a price between £50m and £58m (€60m-€70m).

Bayern Munich’s 33-year-old striker Robert Lewandowski is the third option, but would only be given a two-year deal due to his age and is thought to be a ‘very complicated’ deal to pull off.

That leaves Lukaku as fourth choice or the ‘last resort’ option. The 28-year-old only joined Chelsea in a club-record £97.5m deal last summer and is under contract until June 2026 but he has failed to settle back at Stamford Bridge, scoring 11 goals in 31 appearances so far this season, and is thought to be open to moving.

‘It’s not in our hands’: Chelsea advisor Petr Cech unsure if club will finish Premier League season

15:40 , Michael Jones

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has admitted the club’s ability to finish the Premier League season in not in their hands amid negotiations with the UK Government over its operating licence.

Chelsea were allowed to continue with “football-related activities” after being handed a special license following the sanctioning of owner Roman Abramovich, leaving the club facing an uncertain future.

Negotiations have been held with the government over amending the licence to allow Chelsea to operate as normally as possible but under the conditions that Abramovich cannot make a profit.

Cech, who is now employed by Chelsea as a technical and performance advisor, admitted that the Premier League side had been left with more questions than answers amid what he described as a “difficult situation”.

Chelsea advisor Petr Cech unsure if club will finish Premier League season

Thomas Tuchel queries Premier League ownership tests after Chelsea beat Newcastle

15:27 , Michael Jones

Thomas Tuchel questioned the Premier League’s ownership tests following Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.

Head coach Tuchel reaffirmed his commitment to the Blues despite the club’s uncertain future due to owner Roman Abramovich’s Government sanctions.

Abramovich has had all his UK assets frozen barring Chelsea in the wake of Downing Street claiming to have proven the Russian-Israeli billionaire’s links to Vladimir Putin.

Thomas Tuchel queries Premier League ownership tests after Chelsea beat Newcastle

‘We’re privileged to do what we love’ says Kai Havertz

15:18 , Michael Jones

Chelsea’s Kai Havertz spoke after the Newcastle game about the situation at the London club following owner, Roman Abramovich, getting sanctioned by the UK government and more recently the EU.

“We – the players – are in a good situation, really, we feel bad for everyone else,” said Havertz, “We know this situation is not all about football, there are a lot more important things than us right now but we try to put smiles on faces.

“When you see the emotion that came out after this goal, it is what everyone needed. We are very privileged to do our job, a lot of people in the world are feeling a lot worse than us. We are just trying to do our job, be professional and give them a good feeling.

“It’s tough but for us we play, we are privileged to train, do what we love. It’s hard for everyone, not only for us, but everyone at the club, the fans. Also the workers, the Academy and eveyone at the club. We try to give everything and if we can give them moments like this it’s nice, to give them a good feeling.”

EU to sanction Roman Abramovich

15:13 , Michael Jones

According to sources at the EU, diplomats asked the Commission – which drafted the economic sanctions – for assurances that the new economic measures on Russian oligarchs cannot be successfully challenged in EU courts.

No concerns were raised about the new listings of oligarchs and businessmen – which are in a separate legal document drafted by the EU external action service – and one diplomat was confident that Abramovich’s sanctioning “will go through”.

Further Russian oligarchs will be added to the EU list after dozens have already been sanctioned.

The new sanctions will hit people active in the Russian steel industry and others who provide financial services, military products and technology to the Russian state.

Abramovich holds a Portuguese passport, which means that Portugal could in principle refrain from imposing on him the asset freeze and travel ban decided at EU level which is aleady in place on Chelsea’s owner in Britain.

EU agrees to freeze Roman Abramovich’s assets

15:05 , Michael Jones

The European Union has decided to add Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich to the EU list of Russian billionaires sanctioned after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The informal greenlight to Abramovich’s listing came in a meeting on Sunday, according to one source, with EU envoys set to reconvene on Monday to adopt the measure and a further set of economic sanctions against Russia.

Sanctions will be effective only after publication on the EU’s official journal, which usually happens within hours or the day following formal approval.

The West has sanctioned Russian billionaires, frozen state assets and cut off much of the Russian corporate sector from the global economy in an attempt to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to change course on Ukraine.

Any potential sanctions on Abramovich would come during the fourth set of EU sanctions against Russia since its invasion of Ukraine on the 24th Feburary.

The EU is ready to ban the export of luxury goods to Russia, including expensive cars.

Saudi Media Group make £2.7bn bid for Chelsea

14:47 , Michael Jones

Saudi Media Group have reportedly made a £2.7bn ($3.5bn) offer to buy Chelsea. Mohamed Alkhereiji who runs Saudi Media and is CEO of it’s parent company Engineer Holding Group is an apparant Chelsea fan and is leading a private consortium with no direct government links.

There is is support in finding funding and partners from Mohammed bin Khalid Al Saud who is also chair of Saudi Telecom Company (STC). STC is State-owned and Newcastle owners PIF still have shares in it despite selling some in December.

Chelsea fans told to stop chanting Roman Abramovich’s name by government

14:42 , Michael Jones

More details as Chelsea fans told to stop the “completely inappropriate” chanting of Russian owner Roman Abramovich’s name, the Prime Minister’s spokesman has said.

Blues supporters again expressed their backing for Abramovich during Sunday’s home match against Newcastle, after he was sanctioned by the UK government last week over his ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Government tell Chelsea fans to stop chanting Roman Abramovich’s name

Chelsea fans told to stop the “completely inappropriate” chanting for Roman Abramovich

14:39 , Michael Jones

Chelsea fans have been told to stop the “completely inappropriate” chanting of Russian owner Roman Abramovich’s name by a spokesperson of the Prime Minister.

Chelsea fans again expressed their backing for Abramovich during Sunday’s home match against Newcastle, although there were fewer chants than during the match against Norwich on Thursday.

Abramovich was sanctioned by the British Government last week over his ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin. His assets were frozen with Chelsea placed under a special licence which allows them to operate but unable to generate new revenue.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman insists supporters should not let that blind them to Abramovich’s association to the man leading the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“We recognise the strength of feeling around people’s clubs but that does not excuse behaviour which is completely inappropriate at this time,” he said.

“I think people can show passion and support for their club without resorting to that sort of stuff.”

The UK government has said it is still “open” to Chelsea being sold but that a new application would be needed to enable a sale. So far, the spokesman said, the club had not applied for a variation to its strict special licence.

“We are open to the sale of the club, we would consider an application for a licence to allow that to happen in the right circumstances,” the spokesman said.

“But it is for Chelsea to determine the exact process. My understanding is potential buyers would approach the club, who would then need to apply for a further amended licence to facilitate the sale.

“As far as I’m aware that hasn’t happened at this point.”

Thomas Tuchel reflects on Newcastle win

14:30 , Michael Jones

Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel, explained some of his decisions throughout the match against Newcastle yesterday and praised matchwinner Kai Havertz for how he scored the only goal of the match.

“It was a tough game,” he explained in a post-match interview. “Newcastle were very organised, very physical and very strong at set-pieces.

“We had a lot of questions to answer. I thought we were strong in defence and in the middle of the pitch but we struggled a little in the final 30 metres with our decision-making and creating chances was difficult.

“It was very important not to concede but then when a chance came along, if we could find that one bit of quality, that we took it to win the game.”

Speaking about Havertz, Tuchel added: “It was quality from Kai, an exceptional goal. The pass [from Jorginho] was excellent and the control and the finish was outstanding, so full credit to Kai.

“He works hard in every game and that is shown in his running, the distances he covers and the high intensity work he puts in so to still have the ability, confidence and composure to take the ball in that moment and in the way that he did was very good.

“It was a moment of pure class and we needed that quality to break Newcastle down. Kai delivered for us and then you could see in the last four minutes what a goal does for a team. We were so good and suddenly it was easier to find the gaps, to keep the ball, to open up spaces and switch the play – everything was so much easier and more fluid.

“There is no doubt that I stay until the end of the season. We just have to wait day-by-day because everything can change. The situation is clear, the club is up for sale and hopefully it will go through to sort things out. I have no further information.

“The focus is on the first team of Chelsea, on me and the players, but Chelsea is much more than only the first team. It’s a massive club with huge tradition and there are hundreds of people here so for them it’s important that we show the spirit and show what we are about, which is football because we love the game.”

‘Totally uncharted territory’: Chelsea facing harsh reality of life after Roman Abramovich

14:21 , Michael Jones

Among the Chelsea players, there was dark humour about the news, and more earnest questions about what next and what it all means.

The first thing that should be said is that there is a seriousness here way beyond football. The notification of Roman Abramovich’s sanctioning relayed the following, among a lengthy piece of information that was among the very longest of those concerning the 204 individuals named:

“Abramovich is associated with a person who is/has been involved in destabilising Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin, with whom Abramovich has had a close relationship for decades.”

This was a fact that media sought to publish and explore for years, but were shackled by the billionaire’s heavy use of litigation.

Chelsea facing ‘totally uncharted territory’ of life after Roman Abramovich

Fans urged to stop chanting in support of owner Roman Abramovich

14:12 , Michael Jones

Chelsea fans have been asked to refrain from chanting in support of their owner Roman Abramovich by a Government minister.

Supporters of the west London club sang Abramovich’s name during the Premier League win at Norwich on Thursday night, hours after the Government had imposed sanctions on him due to his links to Russian president Vladimir Putin but were more reserved against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Abramovich’s UK assets have been frozen while Chelsea have been issued a special licence to continue operating under strict conditions designed to prevent the Russian-Israeli billionaire generating new revenue.

Technology minister Chris Philp urged Blues fans to remember why Abramovich had been sanctioned in the first place.

“I’m a football fan myself, I’m a Palace fan, in south London. So I understand why fans are very attached to their football clubs,” he told BBC Radio Four’s Today Programme on Friday morning.

“But Roman Abramovich is someone who has been sanctioned now, yesterday morning, for his very close links to Vladimir Putin and the Putin regime.

“And I just say respectfully to the Chelsea fans, I know he’s done a lot for the club, but the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and what the Russian regime are doing to civilians – shelling maternity hospitals and shooting civilians who are fleeing down humanitarian corridors – and that is more important than football.

“And I say that as a football fan myself, and I would just ask them to keep that in mind.”

Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and has led the club to 21 trophies in the 19 years since. But the club’s future is now uncertain.

Chelsea fans urged to stop chanting in support of owner Roman Abramovich

‘No doubt’ Thomas Tuchel will stay with Chelsea until at least end of season

13:57 , Michael Jones

Thomas Tuchel has confirmed he will stay at Chelsea until at least the end of the season and insisted he would drive the sanction-hit club to next week’s Champions League game in Lille himself if he had to.

The Blues boss, speaking after Sunday’s victory over Newcastle thanks to Kai Havertz’s last-gasp winner, revealed little has changed for the club’s first-team set-up so far in the wake of owner Roman Abramovich’s UK Government sanctions.

Abramovich had all his UK assets – barring Chelsea – frozen on Thursday, with the Government claiming to have proved the 55-year-old’s links to Vladimir Putin amid Russia’s continued war in Ukraine.

Tuchel reaffirmed his immediate commitment and expects a sale to be carried out in standard timescale.

“There’s no doubt I’ll stay until the end of the season, absolutely,” the German said.

Thomas Tuchel will ‘absolutely’ stay with Chelsea until at least end of season

Holocaust memorial suspends ties to Roman Abramovich

13:50 , Michael Jones

Israel’s official Holocaust memorial and museum, Yad Vashem, has suspended ties with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich just weeks after he made an eight-figure donation in a “long-term strategic partnership”

Just a few weeks ago, after the donation from Abramovich, the memorial had claimed that “a new long-term strategic partnership” had been struck with the Russian billionaire after he became their second largest donor.

Earlier this month, Yad Vashem was embroiled in controversy after a report in the Washington Post claimed that it had attempted to assert pressure on the US not to sanction the Blues owner.

Abramovich has had his assets frozen in the UK in the wake of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, although he continues to deny any links to president Vladimir Putin .

The West have targeted several Russian oligarchs and billionaires with sanctions and asset freezes in the hopes of exertgin pressure on Putin to stop the war and Israel are debating whether to follow their lead.

Chelsea being run ‘day to day’ claims Petr Cech

13:40 , Michael Jones

Chelsea technical director Petr Cech confessed that the club was being run on a day-to-day basis after the imposition of a spending cap – due to sanctions on club owner Roman Abramovich – means that the club may run out of money before the end of the season.

As part of theses sanctions, investments from club sponsors are on hold, ticket sales have been limited and matchday spending has been capped leading to suggestions that Chelsea may fail to pay their players and employees perhaps even run out of cash before the season concludes.

“It’s been devastating to watch what’s happening in Ukraine and our thoughts are with the victims of the situation. I hope people will stop suffering,” Cech told Sky Sports ahead of Chelsea’s game against Newcastle yesterday.

“When you compare to what’s been happening here, it’s a difficult situation. We have many questions, we don’t have many answers but we are determined to concentrate on things we can control. We are going day by day to try and finish the season.

“We hope the situation will be clearer soon. We hope people working for the club will be able to get their salaries and to live their lives and work.

“This is a difficult question for me to answer because I don’t have the answers. I don’t know what the lessons will be like in days. Without answers, it’s difficult to plan.”

In more positive news for the Blues, the technical director does not expect to lose manager Thomas Tuchel any time soon, saying:

“Thomas has a contract until 2024, as it stands we’ve been told that the contract will be valued, we hope we will have him as a coach because he’s been brilliant on every level.

“But tomorrow the situation can change and my answer will be irrelevant.”

Thomas Tuchel vows to meet ‘responsibility’ to Chelsea’s behind-scenes employees

13:27 , Michael Jones

Thomas Tuchel has vowed to meet his “responsibility” to Chelsea’s behind-the-scenes employees who continue to fret for their futures.

Kai Havertz’s last-ditch goal steered Chelsea to a 1-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday, their fifth-straight Premier League victory.

The Blues’ commanding form on the field belies the club’s state of flux after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK Government.

Chelsea’s sale can continue under Government supervision, but Abramovich cannot profit after Downing Street claimed to have proven the 55-year-old’s direct links to Vladimir Putin amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

Thomas Tuchel vows to meet ‘responsibility’ to Chelsea’s behind-scenes employees

Chelsea, football’s grim reality and the ‘huge opportunity’ to change the sport’s ownership model

13:18 , Michael Jones

Chelsea fans enjoyed a fleeting moment of joy and exhilaration sparked by the genius of Kai Havertz after 88 minutes of frustration on Sunday. That sublime goal was a welcome distraction to many after a turbulent week, but the cold reality bites today amid the uncertain future of the club. A peculiar atmosphere greeted those in attendance for the match against Newcastle following the financial restrictions imposed on Roman Abramovich. It was a grim outlook for the Premier League as the two clubs that best represent the height of sportswashing fought it out for three points.

The uncomfortable background, from the government sanctions on the Blues to the execution of 81 people on Saturday in Saudi Arabia, was only intensified by the visiting supporters. The Toon Army revelled in their own newfound wealth from their Saudi benefactors, while lauding the miserable outlook of their opponents with Saudi flags seen fluttering in the Shed End throughout.

Chelsea, football’s grim reality and a ‘huge opportunity’ to reshape ownership model

Focus on Manchester United and Chelsea’s Champions League last-16 opponents

13:10 , Michael Jones

Manchester United and Chelsea will bid to join Manchester City and Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals this week.

United host Atletico Madrid on Tuesday after drawing the first leg 1-1 while holders Chelsea won 2-0 against Lille at Stamford Bridge and travel to France for Wednesday’s match.

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at Atletico and Lille.

Focus on Manchester United and Chelsea’s Champions League last-16 opponents

Will Chelsea go into administration? Race to avoid financial ruin after Roman Abramovich sanctioned

13:01 , Michael Jones

The unthinkable could soon become the inevitable, with Chelsea, Champions League winners and once one of the richest clubs on the planet, facing a very real danger of entering administration following the government’s decision to sanction Roman Abramovich.

That’s the warning from one of the country’s leading sports finance experts, who believes that a lack of capital in the London club’s bank account could see the situation at Stamford Bridge unravel at breakneck speed.

The decision to sanction Abramovich on Thursday has thrown the club’s viability into serious doubt and although the government has said it will do it all can to protect Chelsea, it’s clear that unless the club is sold extremely quickly, the five-time Premier League champions are in the kind of financial peril that was unthinkable with the Russian at the helm.

Will Chelsea go into administration? Club race to avoid financial ruin

Former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton ‘keen to buy Chelsea’

12:53 , Michael Jones

Sir Martin Broughton is compiling his own bid to buy Chelsea, the PA news agency understands.

The former British Airways chairman and lifelong Chelsea fan was expected be on hand at Stamford Bridge for Sunday’s Premier League clash against Newcastle.

The 74-year-old was due to meet with Chelsea supporters groups representatives after the Blues’ first match under the new Government operating licence.

Broughton spent a short stint as Liverpool chairman in 2010 in order to broker the Reds’ eventual sale to Tom Werner’s Fenway Sports Group.

The business magnate won a court battle to push on Liverpool’s sale to FSG, who have helped drive the Anfield club back to Premier League and European summit.

Former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton ‘keen to buy Chelsea’

Jorginho on Havertz’s winner and focusing on football

12:45 , Michael Jones

“I thought we believed until the end and that is our group, it is our mentality.” said Chelsea midfielder, Jorginho, about the team’s last minute victory over Newcaste yesterday.

After a fairly dull game, bereft of any quality in either final third, Kai Havertz met a pass from Jorginho in the box and scored in the 89th minute to put Chelsea in front and ultimately earn them three points.

“That is what we have been showing all the time now, we keep focused, work hard and fight and push until the end. We deserved the win. It was a great result, atmosphere and great for the fans,’ the Italian said.

‘Kai [Havertz] is an amazing player and guy, who can make the difference for us. We believe in him because you can see the quality he has and the potential that is there. He is a key player for this team and can make the difference like we saw.”

Amid the uncertainty around Chelsea – following Roman Abramovich being sanctioned and having his assests frozen – Jorginho says that focusing on what happens on the pitch helps the players to deal with the surrounding noise. He added:

“It is a good challenge to be honest because we’re all human and when there’s so much going around it is not easy. We try to isolate sometimes, we try to focus what we need to do because we are also professional as you could see we know our targets and we know what we’re here for. We’re fighting for that.”

‘It’s not in our hands’: Chelsea advisor Petr Cech unsure if club will finish Premier League season

12:34 , Michael Jones

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has admitted the club’s ability to finish the Premier League season in not in their hands amid negotiations with the UK Government over its operating licence.

Chelsea were allowed to continue with “football-related activities” after being handed a special license following the sanctioning of owner Roman Abramovich, leaving the club facing an uncertain future.

Negotiations have been held with the government over amending the licence to allow Chelsea to operate as normally as possible but under the conditions that Abramovich cannot make a profit.

Cech, who is now employed by Chelsea as a technical and performance advisor, admitted that the Premier League side had been left with more questions than answers amid what he described as a “difficult situation”.

Chelsea advisor Petr Cech unsure if club will finish Premier League season

Sportswashing derby: Chelsea-Newcastle bound by murky owners

12:26 , Michael Jones

The chants grew louder as the Newcastle fans closed in on Stamford Bridge through the throngs of the subdued Chelsea support.

“Chelsea get bankrupt everywhere they go,” they gloated.

The chance to seize on the misfortune of a rival was an open goal the supporters from northeast England were not going to miss.

But beyond the taunting songs, there were few obvious signs around Chelsea’s stadium to signal the unprecedented situation the Premier League club now finds itself in — only permitted to operate under a special British government license after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Freezing the assets of Abramovich restricts Chelsea’s ability to generate income. So the club shops remained closed as they have been since Thursday when the sanctions against Abramovich were announced. No matchday magazines were allowed to be sold. The only fans allowed into Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Newcastle had to have bought tickets before Thursday.

Sportswashing derby: Chelsea-Newcastle bound by murky owners

Chelsea sale could go through quickly after bid deadline extended

12:20 , Michael Jones

The US merchant bank, Raine Group, has extended the deadline for official bids to buy Chelsea Football Club to Friday this week.

Potential buyers have been informed that a sale of the club could go through rapidly despite Chelsea still not having permission to sell up as part of the special licence they have been granted to continue football operations.

Due to Roman Abramovich being sanctioned by the UK Government and having his assets frozen, the club is up for sale and it is understood the Government are open to allowing a sale as long as no funds go to the Russian billionaire.

UK property tycoon Nick Candy has confirmed he is trying to buy the club and plans to appoint a fan representative to the board if successful.

The US-Swiss consortium of Todd Boehly and Hansjorg Wyss have already put forward a bid, while a Saudi Media-led consortium are also interested.

The Ricketts family, who own the Chicago Cubs, and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson have also noted their interest in Chelsea.

Abramovich’s initial valuation of £4 billion is reportedly too high with a figure of £2.5bn more likely – Candy is ready to bid as high as this.

Raine Group extended the deadline by three days after the process was halted due to Abramovich’s sanctions.

EU to sanction Roman Abramovich

12:11 , Michael Jones

According to sources at the EU, diplomats asked the Commission – which drafted the economic sanctions – for assurances that the new economic measures on Russian oligarchs cannot be successfully challenged in EU courts.

No concerns were raised about the new listings of oligarchs and businessmen – which are in a separate legal document drafted by the EU external action service – and one diplomat was confident that Abramovich’s sanctioning “will go through”.

Further Russian oligarchs will be added to the EU list after dozens have already been sanctioned.

The new sanctions will hit people active in the Russian steel industry and others who provide financial services, military products and technology to the Russian state.

Abramovich holds a Portuguese passport, which means that Portugal could in principle refrain from imposing on him the asset freeze and travel ban decided at EU level which is aleady in place on Chelsea’s owner in Britain.

EU agrees to freeze Roman Abramovich’s assets

12:04 , Michael Jones

The European Union has decided to add Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich to the EU list of Russian billionaires sanctioned after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The informal greenlight to Abramovich’s listing came in a meeting on Sunday, according to one source, with EU envoys set to reconvene on Monday to adopt the measure and a further set of economic sanctions against Russia.

Sanctions will be effective only after publication on the EU’s official journal, which usually happens within hours or the day following formal approval.

The West has sanctioned Russian billionaires, frozen state assets and cut off much of the Russian corporate sector from the global economy in an attempt to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to change course on Ukraine.

Any potential sanctions on Abramovich would come during the fourth set of EU sanctions against Russia since its invasion of Ukraine on the 24th Feburary.

The EU is ready to ban the export of luxury goods to Russia, including expensive cars.

Roman Abramovich disqualified as director of Chelsea

12:00 , Michael Jones

Roman Abramovich has been disqualified as a director of Chelsea, the Premier League have confirmed.

The UK government brought sanctions against the owner on Thursday over his alleged links to Russian president Vladimir Putin amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Despite Abramovich’s assets being frozen, Chelsea were handed a new licence to continue “football-related activities” and are in negotiations with the government to amend some aspects of it.

A statement from the league on Saturday read: “Following the imposition of sanctions by the UK government, the Premier League Board has disqualified Roman Abramovich as a director of Chelsea Football Club.

“The board’s decision does not impact on the club’s ability to train and play its fixtures, as set out under the terms of a licence issued by the government which expires on 31 May 2022.”

Roman Abramovich disqualified as director of Chelsea

Chelsea bidders given green light to press on as Roman Abramovich seeks sale

11:53 , Michael Jones

Chelsea’s sale is expected to progress with government oversight as bidders have been told to press on with submissions.

Owner Roman Abramovich’s government sanctions had stalled proceedings, with the Russian-Israeli billionaire’s UK assets frozen.

Chelsea have been handed a new licence to continue operations however, and the Blues are still locked in negotiations with the government to ease restrictions.

But New York merchant the Raine Group has assessed the terms of the licence and agreed a route forward for the sale with the government.

Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on 2 March, pledging to write off the Blues’ £1.5billion debt and to divert all proceeds to a new foundation to benefit victims of the war in Ukraine.

Chelsea bidders given green light to press on as Roman Abramovich seeks sale

Emma Hayes on stoppage time win over Aston Villa and the importance of Chelsea’s women’s team

11:47 , Michael Jones

Emma Hayes spoke about her team’s stoppage time victory over Aston Villa at the weekend which keeps Chelsea in touching dsitance of Arsenal in the race for the WSL title.

The Blues trail their London rivals by five points but have two games in hand and Hayes was overjoyed after the team picked up a vital three points right at the end of the game.

“I even went down the touchline, which I never do!” said the Chelsea boss, “After the week we’ve just had, you compete for championships when you win games like that. Games when you are not at your best, I didn’t think we looked the freshest, you have a hat-full of chances but you don’t convert. The opposition played really, really well too, you’re down to your bare bones and we’re competing for a championship because we’re able to win a game like that.

“Amazing spirit and camaraderie from the players to do that, they gutted that out. I definitely felt a release in my own emotions, I realised that when I nearly lifted Sam Kerr up! I’m always present to perform, but I’m human and this has been hard and we need to count on each other and we did.

“I’ve always said it, I wouldn’t want to be in any other dressing room because we managed to come through really tough times together and all the values and cultures that have been established here over time, they are really kicking into place in the time we need it most and for that reason I’m really proud of everyone.”

Hayes also spoke about the events happening off the pitch which continue to surround the club and dominate the headlines.

“I know our place within our club, I know our importance and I don’t want any of us to be punished or vilified.” she said. “You know at the end of the day, Chelsea Football Club is important to the community and I think as quickly as possible we can resume a sale, so that we can get on with the business of talking about teams and not everything in and around that.

“I’m not worried about us, I think we are a valuable asset to the football club and I know that internally and I don’t expect that to change.”

 (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Chelsea must not be sold off as part of ‘fire sale’, warns Sadiq Khan

11:40 , Michael Jones

The mayor of London has said it is important to ensure Chelsea FC is not sold off as part of a “fire sale”.

The west London club’s owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned over his links to Vladimir Putin as the UK targeted more oligarchs after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mayor Sadiq Khan urged the Government to remember there are millions of Chelsea fans who are “completely innocent”.

He told the PA news agency: “I think Chelsea are a great Premier League club, they’re the champions of Europe, the world club champions.

“They were a great club before the current owner and they’ll be a great club after the current owner.

“It’s important to distinguish Chelsea and what’s happening in Ukraine because the reality is for too long Russian oligarchs close to Putin had been using homes in London, businesses in London, to launder money.

“I think it’s right that the Government is now taking sanctions and seizing assets of those Russian oligarchs close to Putin.”

Chelsea must not be sold off as part of ‘fire sale’, warns Sadiq Khan

Azpilicueta could stay at Chelsea for another year

11:34 , Michael Jones

Cesar Azpilicueta could be staying at Chelsea for another year after rumours claimed he would be moving to Barcelona on a free transfer in the summer.

Azpilicueta’s current contract with the Blues ends in June and Barcelona are said to have already put a contract offer on the table for the 33-year-old.

According to Marca the Chelsea captain is Barcelona’s number one defensive target this summer with Azpilicueta keen for a move back to Spain.

However, the Spanish publication claims that Chelsea have already activated a clause in the player’s contract triggering an automatic one-year extension that kicked in after he reached 30 appearances for this season.

Azpilicueta, who missed the win over Newcastle with illness, has now made 33 appearances this season for the Blues. Barca’s desire to land the player remains, but they are not willing to pay a fee with Azpilicueta’s new one-year deal kicking in.

“Azpilicueta wants an amicable solution and he is working on it with the club,” says the report from Marca.

Roman Abramovich’s sanctioning means the club are now working under a strict Government license meaning new player sales and new contract negotiations will not be permitted.

However, since Azpilicueta triggered the clause before those sanctions last week, it is understood the player’s one-year deal will be honoured.

As Chelsea cannot add any new players to their squad at the current time they will likely be unwilling to see anyone leave the club in the foreseeable future.

Thomas Tuchel would welcome ‘a message for peace’ on Chelsea shirts

11:27 , Michael Jones

Thomas Tuchel would be open to Chelsea wearing “a message for peace” on their shirts after sponsor Three suspended their deal with the club following the sanctions against owner Roman Abramovich.

Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich’s UK assets – including Chelsea – are now frozen, with the west London club handed a special licence to continue with “football-related activities”.

Telecommunications company Three announced the suspension of its partnership with the Blues on Thursday, including the removal of its branding from club strips.

And Tuchel, speaking after the Blues’ win over Norwich on Thursday evening, said there should always be room for a peaceful message.

“You can always wear a message for peace and it can never be the wrong message,” he said. “Of course maybe the worry is to find enough shirts that we can play with the sanctions! But as long as we have enough shirts and as long as the bus is full of fuel we will arrive and we will be competitive.

“This is what everybody can be sure of and what we demand of ourselves. When it’s a big storm you dig in and you are all together.”

Thomas Tuchel would welcome ‘a message for peace’ on Chelsea shirts

Chelsea credit cards temporarily suspended after Roman Abramovich sanctions

11:20 , Michael Jones

Chelsea were left facing further uncertainty after the club’s credit cards were temporarily suspended in the wake of owner Roman Abramovich being sanctioned by the UK Government.

The club have been granted a license to continue with “football-related activities” but Chelsea are unable to operate as a business and have been banned from selling match tickets or merchandise.

Chelsea have been in discussions with the government in the hope of amending the license and easing the restrictions but were hit on Friday when banks suspended the club’s accounts.

The Independent has been told that it came as companies accessed the operating license handed to the club, but it is understood that Chelsea are hopeful the credit cards will soon be up and running as normal.

Abramovich was sanctioned on Thursday after the government claimed to have proven the 55-year-old’s links to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich has always denied links to Russia’s current regime, but Putin’s war in Ukraine has led to a major geopolitical shift.

Chelsea credit cards temporarily suspended after Roman Abramovich sanctions

John Terry thanks Chelsea fans after Havertz winner

11:12 , Michael Jones

Former Chelsea captain, John Terry, sent the Blues fans a message of thanks on Twitter after Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

Kai Havertz scored an 89th minute winner at Stamford Bridge to pick up all three points for Chelsea and speaking after the game, Terry praised the forward saying:

“Great vision, great execution, superb touch and finish. Our supporters were excellent today, I stood there proud to be Chelsea.

“Well done boys and a huge thank you to our fans.”

Mario Melchiot on Chelsea’s uncertain future

11:05 , Michael Jones

Former Chelsea defender Mario Melchiot spoke to BBC Radio 5Live about the ongoing situation at the club following the sanctions on owner Roman Abramovich and how the uncertain future for Chelsea could affect the players off the pitch. He said:

Uncertainty. That is one of the key things that footballers hate the most. One of the things that people have to understand: when you’re a footballer, and you stand on the field and the referee blows the whistle, and you play 90 minutes.

“Those 90 minutes, you forget about everything. The only moment when you think about the fans or anybody around you, is when you make a mistake or you score a goal, because then your emotions go. But away from that, you’re so happy because your mindset takes you away from all the problems you had.

“Even if you have personal problems, football is one of the key things. It’s almost like a medicine to any footballer. But the reality comes in before the game and right after the game.

“Chelsea can’t make any moves. The Government’s stepped in now, we have to see. We have to see who’s going to take over charge of the club. We don’t know if someone’s going to come in and wants to aim for the same idea. Because that’s also a question.

“People can say ‘oh, someone else can come in’. But you don’t know, we also have to see that someone has the same love as what the club has always been used to having.”

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust send message to UK government regarding club’s new owners

10:54 , Michael Jones

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST) have released a statement with their “key asks and expectations” for any sale of the west London football club.

Current owner, Roman Abramovich, put the club up for sale two weeks ago but after being hit with sanctions from the UK government his assets in this country are frozen including Chelsea FC. That means any sale of the club comes under supervision from the government.

This has put the sale into some doubt, but there are still plenty of interested parties. Nick Candy, Robert “Woody” Johnson. Todd Boehly’s consortium, and the Ricketts family are a select few who have expressed their interest in buying Chelsea.

With the situation as uncertain as it is though the CST have released a statement of expectations from Chelsea supporters.

The statement reads: “Key asks and expectations of the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust in any sale of the club:

“The Government must resolve the situation as quickly and transparently as possible.

“The Government must implement the recommendations of the Fan Led Review – including by ensuring Chelsea fans are given a golden share by the new owners of the club.

“The CPO (Chelsea Pitch Owners) must be protected in all circumstances.

“Roman Abramovich’s tenure at Chelsea is almost certain to end, and our focus must be on what comes next and ensuring a sustainable future for the club.”

Thomas Tuchel queries Premier League ownership tests after Chelsea beat Newcastle

10:45 , Michael Jones

Thomas Tuchel questioned the Premier League’s ownership tests following Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.

Head coach Tuchel reaffirmed his commitment to the Blues despite the club’s uncertain future due to owner Roman Abramovich’s Government sanctions.

Abramovich has had all his UK assets frozen barring Chelsea in the wake of Downing Street claiming to have proven the Russian-Israeli billionaire’s links to Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine, coupled with Saudi Arabia carrying out 81 public executions on Saturday, made for a tense backdrop to the Blues’ last-gasp win over the Saudi-bankrolled Magpies.

The Premier League insisted Newcastle’s owners, the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, proved suitable separation from the Saudi state before its takeover, despite crown prince Mohammed bin Salman chairing the PIF.

Thomas Tuchel queries Premier League ownership tests after Chelsea beat Newcastle

Chelsea vs Newcastle best of the stats

10:36 , Michael Jones

Newcastle’s nine-match unbeaten run in the Premier League came to an end, with the Magpies also failing to score for the first time in 10 matches since losing to Man City in December (0-4).

Only versus Spurs (33) have Chelsea won more Premier League games than they have against Newcastle (29), with the Blues winning each of their last nine home league games against the Magpies.

The Magpies have won just one of their last 28 away league games against Chelsea (D7 L20), winning 2-0 in May 2012 under Alan Pardew.

Thomas Tuchel’s side are unbeaten in their last 35 Premier League home games played in March (W30 D5), since a 4-2 loss against Sunderland in 2001. Only in August (38 between 1993 and 2015) have the Blues had a longer unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge in a specific month.

 (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Thomas Tuchel praises ‘quality’ Kai Havertz after Newcastle display

10:30 , Michael Jones

Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel, was full of praise for Kai Havertz after the 22-year-old secured all three points for the Blues in the Premier League game against Newcastle yesterday.

Tuchel was impressed with Chelsea’s game management and called Havertz a ‘quality and reliable’ player. Tuchel said:

It was a big three points for us. It was a tough match against a physically strong, well organised opponent. We had to be tough to give ourselves a chance to land the sucker punch and we did that with a quality finish.

“I was impressed with the way we played down the clock after that and almost scored a second one. It shows how much a change in confidence and rhythm it gives you when you finally get the goal.

“It was a goal of real quality from a real quality player. He [Havertz] is a top character and on absolutely the right path in his development. He is so reliable and very strong.”

Kai Havertz scores last-minute winner as Chelsea and Newcastle serve reminder of both sides of football

10:22 , Michael Jones

A moment from Kai Havertz that displays why we keep coming back to football, in a match that offered so many reasons to stay away.

Procedure insists we must state the scoreline of this match at Stamford Bridge was a late 1-0 win for Chelsea over Newcastle United, but the real significance is not on the table or anything like this. It is what it means for the sport, and society.

The wonder is how a fixture like this will be looked back on. What will its place in history be?

There were many moments when it barely felt like a football match at all, and not just because it was mostly a poor game.

It is difficult not to feel that, just at the point where the Premier League appears to have reached a peak in terms of financial power, this showcased the absolute worst of the sport. So much of it, put bluntly, was so depressing.

Havertz scores late winner as Chelsea end Newcastle’s unbeaten run

Joy on the pitch amid turmoil at Chelsea

10:14 , Michael Jones

After a week of uncertainty over the future of Chelsea football club both senior teams stepped up on the pitch at the weekend to give their supporters a bit of hope and joy going forward.

Thomas Tuchel’s men’s team took on Newcastle at home, playing at Stamford Bridge for the first time since receiving government sanctions due to owner Roman Abramovich’s links to Russia in wake of their invasion of Ukraine.

The Blues faced a tough challenge from Eddie Howe’s men – themselves under pressure due to their Saudi-backed ownership after 81 men were executed in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

A moment of brilliance from Kai Havertz earned Chelsea all three points after he brought down an aerial pass from Jorginho in the box and tapped it around Martin Dubravka to send the Blues in front mere minutes from the end of the game.

Remarkably, Emma Hayes’ women’s team mirrored the events at Stamford Bridge as they took on Aston Villa in the Women’s Super League.

Sam Kerr scored a stoppage-time winner as Chelsea beat Villa to boost their WSL title hopes in what was also their first home game since owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned.

Kerr pounced on a long pass from keeper Zecira Musovic in the 92nd minute and poked the ball home, an outcome that was cruel on a resolute Villa side.

The sanctions also meant that only supporters who had bought season tickets or individual match tickets before 10 March were able to attend the match at Kingsmeadow.

What Roman Abramovich’s sanctions mean for Chelsea

10:04 , Michael Jones

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government, placing the club’s future in limbo.

The Russian-Israeli billionaire has owned Chelsea since 2003, but he put the club up for sale amid the threat of being sanctioned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The government’s “oligarch taskforce” has set about targeting those with links to the Kremlin and has sanctioned Abramovich due to his ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin, as well as his stake in the company Evraz PLC, which has been “potentially supplying steel to the Russian military which may have been used in the production of tanks”.

The government’s sanction paper explained: “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.”

What Roman Abramovich’s sanctions mean for Chelsea

Nick Candy confirms he’s still interested in buying club

09:53 , Michael Jones

Nick Candy’s vision for a redeveloped Stamford Bridge could hand the British billionaire an edge in the battle to buy Chelsea.

Property tycoon Candy remains interested in bidding for the Champions League holders, despite uncertainty around the club’s sale after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government on Thursday.

Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich’s UK assets are now frozen except for Chelsea, with the west London club handed a special licence to continue trading.

Chelsea’s sale remains technically on hold for now, but the Treasury could issue a new licence to allow a deal to go through – provided Abramovich receives no benefit.

A spokesperson for Candy confirmed the 49-year-old’s continued interest in Chelsea.

“We are examining the details of yesterday’s announcement and we are still interested in making a bid,” said Candy’s spokesperson. “Clearly this is a time of great uncertainty for all Chelsea fans.

“In our view, no one is the owner of a football club – you are the custodian of it for the fans and the community.”

A host of US investors still harbour interest in Chelsea, with LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly part of one consortium, and Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts another with a strongly rumoured interest.

Prime minister Boris Johnson’s government and the Premier League would likely oversee any Chelsea sale now, and Candy’s status and credentials could sit well with those power brokers.

Candy has already declared his ambition to revamp Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium should he win the race to buy the club.

He is putting together a consortium offer for the Blues and his property sphere nous should find favour in Downing Street and Treasury corridors, it is understood.

Analysts believe a fully modernised and expanded Stamford Bridge could boost Chelsea’s commercial revenues by up to 25 per cent per annum.

That major potential uplift, if coupled with an astute financing plan for the stadium rebuild, is among the main reasons for the continued brisk interest in the Chelsea sale.

Boosting the hotel offering at Stamford Bridge and also conferencing facilities would be among the other offshoots of a stadium rebuild.

Nick Candy confirms he’s still interested in buying Chelsea

Chelsea being run ‘day to day’ claims Petr Cech

09:45 , Michael Jones

Chelsea technical director Petr Cech confessed that the club was being run on a day-to-day basis after the imposition of a spending cap – due to sanctions on club owner Roman Abramovich – means that the club may run out of money before the end of the season.

As part of theses sanctions, investments from club sponsors are on hold, ticket sales have been limited and matchday spending has been capped leading to suggestions that Chelsea may fail to pay their players and employees perhaps even run out of cash before the season concludes.

“It’s been devastating to watch what’s happening in Ukraine and our thoughts are with the victims of the situation. I hope people will stop suffering,” Cech told Sky Sports ahead of Chelsea’s game against Newcastle yesterday.

“When you compare to what’s been happening here, it’s a difficult situation. We have many questions, we don’t have many answers but we are determined to concentrate on things we can control. We are going day by day to try and finish the season.

“We hope the situation will be clearer soon. We hope people working for the club will be able to get their salaries and to live their lives and work.

“This is a difficult question for me to answer because I don’t have the answers. I don’t know what the lessons will be like in days. Without answers, it’s difficult to plan.”

In more positive news for the Blues, the technical director does not expect to lose manager Thomas Tuchel any time soon, saying:

“Thomas has a contract until 2024, as it stands we’ve been told that the contract will be valued, we hope we will have him as a coach because he’s been brilliant on every level.

“But tomorrow the situation can change and my answer will be irrelevant.”

Thomas Tuchel will ‘absolutely’ stay with Chelsea until at least end of season

09:38 , Michael Jones

Thomas Tuchel has confirmed he will stay at Chelsea until at least the end of the season and insisted he would drive the sanction-hit club to next week’s Champions League game in Lille himself if he had to.

The Blues boss, speaking after Sunday’s victory over Newcastle thanks to Kai Havertz’s last-gasp winner, revealed little has changed for the club’s first-team set-up so far in the wake of owner Roman Abramovich’s UK Government sanctions.

Abramovich had all his UK assets – barring Chelsea – frozen on Thursday, with the Government claiming to have proved the 55-year-old’s links to Vladimir Putin amid Russia’s continued war in Ukraine.

Tuchel reaffirmed his immediate commitment and expects a sale to be carried out in standard timescale.

“There’s no doubt I’ll stay until the end of the season, absolutely,” the German said.

Thomas Tuchel will ‘absolutely’ stay with Chelsea until at least end of season

Amnesty demand more action on ‘sportswashing’ before Chelsea-Newcastle clash

09:29 , Michael Jones

Amnesty International called on the football authorities to do more to combat ‘sportswashing’ before Chelsea faced Saudi-bankrolled Newcastle at Stamford Bridge yesterday.

It was the Blues’ first home match since sanctions were imposed upon owner Roman Abramovich for his links with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Newcastle were taken over by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund in October and Magpies co-owner Amanda Staveley said last week she was “really sad” that Abramovich had been effectively stripped of ownership.

The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund has given legally binding assurances, which have been accepted by the Premier League, that the Saudi state will have no control over Newcastle.

Amnesty International UK’s chief executive Sacha Deshmukh said: “Big money has obviously dominated top-level English football for years, but this game is a particularly stark reminder of the fact we’re now in an era of global sportswashing.”

Amnesty demands more action on ‘sportswashing’ ahead of Chelsea-Newcastle clash

Tuchel willing to drive ‘seven-seater’ to get Chelsea to Champions League fixture

09:22 , Michael Jones

Chelsea boss, Thomas Tuchel, says he is willing to do whatever it takes to get his team to France for their Champions League last 16 second leg tie against Lille on Wednesday.

The government sanctions on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich mean the Blues have been limited on how much money they can spend for expenses including travel to away games with the cap currently set at £20,000 per game.

Chelsea are 2-0 up on aggregate in the tie and Tuchel said the team will do anything to get to the game and continue to defend the trophy they won last season.

“My last information is that we have a plane, that we can go by plane and come back by plane,” said the Chelsea boss, “If not we go by train, if not we go by bus – if not, I’ll drive a seven-seater! And I will do. Mark my words I will do; I will arrive there.

“If you’d asked me 20 or 30 years ago if I would join a Champions League match at the sideline and what I was willing to do I would have said, ‘OK, when do I have to be where?’

“And why should this change? I will be there, we will be there. Of course, organisation-wise, there are some negotiations going on and some talks, but it does not influence me.

“We have brilliant guys who organise the travel, and in every department we have such committed people that for the moment things feel normal.

“I think practically things have changed more for the guys who for example organised the journey to Lille, because they had to figure out how we arrive there.

“But in the end I get the information so for me personally when I come to the building, actually nothing has changed so far. We do our meetings, we prepare training, we talk to doctors, fitness department, talk to the players and do the best training possible.

“And we demand it, from everybody, because this is what makes Chelsea special, and Chelsea a top club.”

Chelsea, football’s grim reality and the ‘huge opportunity’ to the sport’s ownership model

09:14 , Michael Jones

Chelsea fans enjoyed a fleeting moment of joy and exhilaration sparked by the genius of Kai Havertz after 88 minutes of frustration on Sunday. That sublime goal was a welcome distraction to many after a turbulent week, but the cold reality bites today amid the uncertain future of the club. A peculiar atmosphere greeted those in attendance for the match against Newcastle following the financial restrictions imposed on Roman Abramovich. It was a grim outlook for the Premier League as the two clubs that best represent the height of sportswashing fought it out for three points.

The uncomfortable background, from the government sanctions on the Blues to the execution of 81 people on Saturday in Saudi Arabia, was only intensified by the visiting supporters. The Toon Army revelled in their own newfound wealth from their Saudi benefactors, while lauding the miserable outlook of their opponents with Saudi flags seen fluttering in the Shed End throughout.

It is important to state that there is a sizeable contingent of the Chelsea’s fanbase who hold resentment towards the government, failing to observe the bigger picture with their selfish reactions. One fan held up a sign outside Stamford Bridge with the message: “Don’t use Chelsea for your bull**** politics”.

Chelsea, football’s grim reality and a ‘huge opportunity’ to reshape ownership model

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