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Analysis: Chelsea getting ready to count the cost of Roman Abramovich sanctions

Lost Premier League ticket sales alone will potentially cost the club over £2million.

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No new tickets or merchandise will be sold at Stamford Bridge after Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the Government (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

No new tickets or merchandise will be sold at Stamford Bridge after Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the Government (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

No new tickets or merchandise will be sold at Stamford Bridge after Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the Government (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Chelsea have been blocked from selling match tickets and merchandise under a package of Government sanctions imposed on Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the possible impact of those restrictions, with lost Premier League ticket sales alone potentially costing the club over £2million.

Ticket sales

Season ticket holders will still be able to attend Stamford Bridge, while all match tickets already sold will be honoured.

That covers this Sunday’s game with Newcastle and April 2’s visit of Brentford but the final three home league games of the season against West Ham, Wolves and Watford will all be subject to the new restrictions, along with any home ties should they progress further in the Champions League.

Stamford Bridge holds 41,837 fans, with Chelsea reportedly having around 28,000 season ticket holders – leaving nearly 14,000 seats sold on a match-by-match basis.

That includes the away team allocation – 3,000 for Premier League games at £30 or £23.50 for concessions, worth between £70,000 and £90,000 per match.

While home ticket prices vary, from £80 on general sale in the Westview hospitality section to £25 for club members for a restricted view in the Matthew Harding Stand lower section, the various areas average out to £58 on general sale or £56 for members.

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Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the Government (Adam Davy/PA)

Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the Government (Adam Davy/PA)

Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the Government (Adam Davy/PA)

With just shy of 11,000 tickets unsold in those areas relative to a capacity crowd, that would mean another £600,000-plus missing from the club coffers and around £700,000 per match in all – an estimated £2.1million for the three games combined.

Chelsea’s accounts for the 2019-20 season – played mostly in front of crowds, though their last four home games were behind closed doors due to Covid-19 restrictions – showed matchday revenue of £54.5m. A three-game share of that would be £10.9m and with capacity effectively reduced by almost a third, those figures suggest the cost could even be in excess of £3m.

Chelsea Supporters Trust Board member Dan Silver fears for the impact on not just the club but also a host of part-time employees.

He told the PA news agency: “It is not just the players and supporters. It is also the matchday staff, who maybe only work one day a week who rely on the extra money to come into to help themselves live.

“Will they need as many stewards? In the pandemic, Chelsea were still paying wages, but now they probably can’t even offer to continue to pay all the staff wages because they are simply not allowed to.”

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Commercial revenue

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Martyn Hardiman with his son Peter, two, after purchasing the last Chelsea shirt before the store at Stamford Bridge closed on Thursday (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Martyn Hardiman with his son Peter, two, after purchasing the last Chelsea shirt before the store at Stamford Bridge closed on Thursday (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Martyn Hardiman with his son Peter, two, after purchasing the last Chelsea shirt before the store at Stamford Bridge closed on Thursday (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Chelsea’s December accounts showed commercial revenue of £153.6m for the 2020-21 season, down slightly from £170.4m the previous season but holding up far better than ticket sales under the pressures of the pandemic.

A January survey by Euromericas Sport Marketing ranked Chelsea seventh in the world for shirt sales in 2021 with 1.31million, behind Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United, Juventus and Barcelona.

A separate report from lovethesales.com in August listed Blues striker Romelu Lukaku fourth in Premier League shirt sales, behind Manchester United pair Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes and Manchester City’s Jack Grealish.

With shirts priced at £69.95 on the club’s website, or £84.95 with player name and number printing, the loss of that revenue is potentially significant and will affect even the Newcastle and Brentford games – though, with just two months of the season remaining, most shirt sales in particular may already be accounted for.

Silver estimated a total impact of £2m per game as he said: “We have got four or five home matches left, so that’s £10million, plus maybe one or two Champions League matches, that’s £12m to £14m, so it is a big hole in anyone’s budget.

“What the Chelsea Supporters Trust just want is to make sure there is a football club moving forward.”

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