Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is now unable to sell the club after the UK government froze the billionaire’s assets.
Abramovich had announced his intention to sell the club last week.
Despite there being plenty of interest, however, the sanctions now mean that the Blues face an uncertain future.
Why has Abramovich been sanctioned?
Abramovich has been penalised as part of the government’s sanctions on numerous high-profile Russians who have ties to president Vladimir Putin, who ordered the recent invasion of Ukraine.
HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions released a statement on Thursday which, in part, reads: “Roman Arkadyevich ABRAMOVICH (hereafter ABRAMOVICH) is a prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch.
“ABRAMOVICH is associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilising Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin, with whom ABRAMOVICH has had a close relationship for decades.
“This association has included obtaining a financial benefit or other material benefit from Putin and the Government of Russia.
“This includes tax breaks received by companies linked to ABRAMOVICH, buying and selling shares from and to the state at favourable rates, and the contracts received in the run up to the FIFA 2018 World Cup.
“Therefore, ABRAMOVICH has received preferential treatment and concessions from Putin and the Government of Russia.”
The culture secretary Nadine Dorries confirmed Chelsea will still be able to operate as a club in the meantime.
She tweeted: “To ensure the club can continue to compete and operate we are issuing a special licence that will allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches while, crucially, depriving Abramovich of benefiting from his ownership of the club.”