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No ticket sales, contracts on hold and a crisis at Chelsea as Roman Abramovich is sanctioned

Chelsea will be given a special licence to continue operation, but the sale of the Stamford Bridge club is now on hold.

Roman Abramovich has put Chelsea up for sale after 19 years owning the Premier League club (Adam Davy/PA)

Kevin Palmer

The UK government's decision to sanction Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will have a massive impact on his club, with the future of star players now thrown into the air.

Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2 in the wake of Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine, With several parties believed to be interested in acquiring the current European and world champions, but any potential sale has now been complicated by the decision to sanction the Russian billionaire.

Even though he has always staunchly denied any current political links to Russia’s ruling elite, Boris Johnson’s UK Government has now frozen all his UK assets and the impact on Chelsea will be far reaching.

The club will be given a special licence to continue operation, but the sale of the Stamford Bridge club is now on hold.

In addition, the shape of Chelsea’s long-term future has naturally been thrown into doubt, but Government ministers were quick to insist any damage would be limited.

The depth of the impact of this decision can now be revealed, with Chelsea blocked from selling tickets to matches for the foreseeable future, with only season ticket holders who have already paid for their entry into Stamford Bridge allowed to attend games. No away fans will be attending games at Stamford Bridge as a result of this decision.

Also, the club will not be allowed to sell merchandise in their club shop or through official channels and significantly, transfer and player contract negotiations will also be put on hold.

That means any hopes of Chelsea finalising new contracts for defenders Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta (below with Abramovich) are also on hold with their current deals set to expire this summer.

Roman Abramovich and Cesar Azpilicueta pose with the FIFA Club World Cup trophy

A cloud of uncertainty has now gathered over Stamford Bridge as manager Thomas Tuchel and his players prepare for Thursday night's game against Norwich.

Yet former Liverpool and Ireland striker John Aldridge believes this is a fate Chelsea have to accept, having reaped the rewards of Abramovich's money since he bought the club in 2003.

"Abramovich has been forced to try and sell Chelsea in a hurry after Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine and you can see their supporters on social media going into meltdown at the prospect of the club sliding back to what they were for so long," Aldridge told

"I remember the days when Chelsea were minor players in English football, with Arsenal and Tottenham the big clubs in London until Abramovich changed the landscape by pumping his millions into the club.

"There is no doubt he changed the game forever with his investment, but he also provided a blueprint for how to buy success.

"No Chelsea fan asked any questions about how Abramovich got his money or the methods he used to re-write the transfer rule book by outspending every team in world football to sign players.

"Now that arrogant attitude has come back to bite them, as Chelsea fans who only followed the club when Abramovich made them successful are worried about what might come next when their sugar daddy owner goes.

"I'd assume that Chelsea will be bought by investors who have ambitions to keep the club on the pedestal Abramovich has put them on, as they won't pay a load of money to buy a top-level club with the intention of overseeing its decline.

"Yet the uncertainty around Chelsea right now is what happens when a club is based around the ambitions of one owner.

"It has never been a recipe for a stable business and while Abramovich has bought success for Chelsea over the last two decades, they are now waiting to discover if their glory days will continue.

"Abramovich has changed the face of British football in his time as Chelsea owner, leading the Blues to 21 trophies in 19 years in a clean sweep of all global competitions."

Abramovich has changed the face of British football in his time as Chelsea owner, leading the Blues to 21 trophies in 19 years in a clean sweep of all global competitions, but that era has been brought to a halt amid Vladimir Putin and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

British billionaire Nick Candy was the latest high-profile business magnate to throw their hat into the ring for Chelsea’s sale, amid a host of suitors for the Champions League holders.

Swiss tycoon Hansjorg Wyss and American investor Todd Boehly were also in the running, with more than 10 credible parties understood to have been compiling bids.

The Chelsea squad will continue to prepare for Thursday’s Premier League clash at Norwich as normal, but everyone at the club will now set about examining the details of the current situation.

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