Raman Abramovich has come under sanctions from the British government as part of an attempt to crack down on wealthy Russians with assets in the country.
The owner of the Chelsea football club is one of seven other Russian oligarchs against whom ministers imposed sanctions on Thursday.
Last week, Mr. Abramovich announced that he intends to sell Chelsea after almost 20 years of ownership, with the net proceeds from the sale going to “all victims of the war in Ukraine.”
In his statement, he said that this decision “is in the interests of the club” against the background of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The sanctions will take effect before the sale of the football club, which is valued at about 3 billion pounds.
Mr. Abramovich will have his assets frozen in connection with the move, as well as face a ban on transactions with individuals and businesses in the UK and a ban on travel.
The other six Russian oligarchs who were sanctioned by the British government on Thursday:
• Oleg Deripaska, who has a stake in En + Group
• Igor Sechin, General Director of Rosneft.
• Andrei Kostin, Chairman of the Board of VTB Bank
• Alexei Miller, CEO of Gazprom.
• Nikolai Tokarov, President of the Russian state pipeline company Transneft.
• Dmitry Lebedev, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Russia Bank.
Now the government has imposed sanctions on more than 200 individuals and legal entities.
Culture Minister Nadine Doris acknowledged that the decision would affect Chelsea Football Club, but said a special license would allow him to continue working.
“Today’s sanctions obviously have a direct impact on Chlesea and its fans. We have made every effort to ensure that these important sanctions do not harm the club and the national game, ”Ms. Doris wrote on Twitter.
“To ensure that the club can continue to compete and operate, we issue a special license that will allow it to hold matches, receive staff salaries and attend matches with existing ticket holders, and, importantly, deprive Abramovich of the benefits of club ownership. .
“I know it introduces some uncertainty, but the government will work with the league and clubs to continue to play football, ensuring that sanctions hit the target. Football clubs are cultural values and the foundation of our communities. We are committed to protecting them.” . “
A government statement reaffirming the latest sanctions says the published license will allow Chelsea to “continue to play matches and other football activities, which in turn will defend the Premier League, the wider pyramid, loyal fans and other clubs.” “.
It adds that the license will be “under constant control”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “There can be no safe haven for those who have supported Putin’s brutal attack on Ukraine.
“Today’s sanctions are the last step in Britain’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people. We will be ruthless in persecuting those who allow the killing of civilians, the destruction of hospitals and the illegal occupation of sovereign allies. “
Meanwhile, the foreign minister said Mr Abramovich and other Russian oligarchs subject to sanctions were “accomplices” to Putin’s aggression.
“The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands. They should hang their heads in shame, ”she said.
“Our support for Ukraine does not waver. We will not stop in this mission to increase the pressure on the Putin regime and to stifle the funds of his brutal military machine. “
Earlier this week, lawmakers quickly worked to pass a bill on economic crimes, which will take effect next week.
The bill will significantly simplify the sanctions process and make it easier for the UK to sanction individuals and “stop oligarchs threatening the UK with multimillion-dollar claims for damages from taxpayers, and allow the UK to display allied designations”.