You’re reading Reaction. To get Iain Martin’s weekly newsletter, columnists including Tim Marshall, Maggie Pagano and Adam Boulton, full access to the site and invitations to member-exclusive events, become a member HERE.
Roman Abramovich’s pipe dream of selling Chelsea is in tatters after he was (finally) sanctioned by the government as part of its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The 55-year-old – who is among seven of Russia’s most notable oligarchs to be sanctioned by the Prime Minister – has been handed a travel ban and has had his assets seized, including his beloved Chelsea Football Club.
Abramovich, who has owned the team since 2003, made the “difficult decision” earlier this month to sell the club for £3 billion. Despite interest from several potential buyers, the sanctions have now thrown the Club World Cup champion’s sale and future in doubt.
The club has been barred from selling merchandise and tickets. It cannot sign any new players, nor negotiate any new contracts. Season ticket holders will, however, still be able to attend matches.
Boris Johnson has said “there can be no safe havens” for those who are sympathetic towards Vladimir Putin, although he has given reassurance to the Chelsea club by handing it a special licence to continue operating.
Sign up for our FREE Reaction Weekend Email
Read the week's best-read articles on politics, business and geopolitics
Receive offers and exclusive invites
Plus uplifting cultural commentary
A serious case of blues for the Premier League goliath.