Chelsea reportedly fear the club could face financial ruin unless the UK government ease the sanctions imposed on owner Roman Abramovich.
Abramovich had all of his UK assets frozen on Thursday and was issued with a travel ban as part of Britain’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, leaving Chelsea’s future in limbo with any potential sale of the club now on hold.
The sanctions prevent Chelsea from selling any more tickets to matches this season, buying or selling players and negotiating contracts.
Chelsea’s club superstore has been forced to close and telecommunications company Three has suspended its £40m-a-year sponsorship deal with the club and asked for its branding to be removed from the team kits of the men’s and women’s team and around Stamford Bridge.
Other major sponsors are also believed to be assessing the situation and although Chelsea have been granted a licence by the government to continue all football-related activities, the club fear the freeze of ticket sales could be crippling.
“If we aren’t allowed to continue operating normally we will very quickly run into the red,” The Times quoted a ‘senior Stamford Bridge source’ as saying.
Chelsea play Newcastle on Sunday in what will be their first home match since the sanctions were imposed.
Former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan believes a sale of Chelsea can still go ahead in light of Abramovich’s pledge not to profit from any deal.
Speaking on Talksport, Jordan said: “There is no reason to stop the sale.
“If there’s any indication that Abramovich gets any of this money, then there becomes a problem. But if they’re able to separate it, they will be able to.
“Abramovich will engage with people who are selling it. The people who are selling it will coordinate with the government. The people who are buying it will make it a condition that the funds they are paying don’t go anywhere near Abramovich. Those three things will meet in a Venn diagram.
“It’s very unlikely that you will stop something being sold if you can control where the distribution of the money is going to.
“It’s not difficult to establish there is no benefit (to Abramovich) if the government have sanctioned it and the government are involved in the disposal.”
Abramovich is one of seven Russian oligarchs to be sanctioned.
He announced last week that he is looking to sell Chelsea after almost 20 years at the helm.
The sanctions will come into force before the proposed sale of the club is able to take place.
But Jordan insisted: “There has to be a solution for Chelsea. It can’t be Chelsea Football Club that gets diminished.
“He’s already stepped out and said ‘I’m not taking a single dime of that’. OK, so we’re going to hold you to that and we’re going to control the sale process – not you and your advisers.
“There will be no appetite for the government to stop the sale of Chelsea. There will be an absolute doubling down of their appetite to stop any of the proceeds going to Abramovich.
“Those two things will meet in a Venn diagram. He’s not getting the money, but we don’t want to stop the sale.”