Sanctions in English Football

Chelsea Football Club is a historical English club that has been a prominent force in English and European football for 20 years. The club was founded 114 years ago but was given extreme capital in 2006 due to a financial takeover by the Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich. The “Russian oil money,” as typically stated in slanderous remarks by rival fans, allowed the club to splash large quantities of cash on stadium upgrades, new transfers, and development in their youth team, enabling them to cultivate young and exciting talent as well as bringing in the new and prominent names. However, this year due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia by Vladimir Putin, The English premier league, in an attempt to show their support for Ukraine and 100% no tolerance for association with Russia, have come down on Roman Abramovich for his close and personal ties with the Russian oligarchy and Vladimir Putten himself. This has led to numerous sanctions that have forced Abramovich’s hand, making him sell the club to save it from financial ruin.

So what are these sanctions, and what is their significance of them? One of the most significant impacts on the club is the inability to resign club players, make transfers or sign new players from additional clubs. This is significant because Chelsea will be unable to resign 4 of their crucial players, including their long-serving captain Cesar Azpilicueta. While many of the other premier league teams over this summer transfer window are looking to boost and strengthen their sides with additional signings, Chelsea will not only be unable to do this but are unable to replace their lost players and will have to deal with the holes in their team for the for seeable future. As well as this, they cannot receive additional capital from their current owner Roman Abramovich. They also are unable to sell any current merchandise in stores and online. With the combination of being unable to sell tickets to their fans and only allowing season ticket holders in the stadium, they have essentially lost any form of financial backing and have been somewhat left to hang and dry. This is further shown by the loss of their main sponsorship with the company 3. Their primary shirt sponsorship has been withdrawn from the club, axing a 40 million dollar between the club and the company forcing the club to play without a shirt sponsorship and cope with the significant financial hole created.

This is as well creating tension within the club. The media has been taking full advantage of the situation, asking as many questions about the possibility of complete financial loss, inability to afford travel, and inability to pay salaries to the current club manager Thomas Tuchel. It has created much speculation around the future of many key players at the club as they look to leave to avoid some of the potential dangers that would proceed in the future. The players are already feeling the effects that these sanctions are having on the club due to the fact they are unable to earn salaries currently.

Roman Abramovich is looking to sell Chelsea football by the end of late April to solve the current problem. There are multiple buyers interested in the club currently being held at an evaluation of 2 billion dollars. This purchase opportunity is seen as a once and a lifetime opportunity where many tycoons are looking to dive into this project. Some of the potential buyers include Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, Part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers Todd Boehly, and the owner of the New York Jets Woody Johnson. However, the main prospect that seems to be leading the buying race is a Saudi media group led by chief executive Mohamed Alkhereiji, where rumors say they are evaluating the club to be worth as much as 2.5 billion and are set to put a 2.7 billion dollar deal in motion in the coming weeks.

Despite the logistics of this deal, as a sports fan, one must look at the ethical implications of these sanctions and the potential repercussions. Chelsea Football Club has been around for more than a century and has a global impact and fanbase. Due to these sanctions, however, many lifelong fans will see their club suffer, although their only connection is the club owner. Many other owners in the premier league had implications within the war in Palestine. Additionally, The effort shown to support Ukraine was utterly disproportionate to the support to Iraq or even Yemen. One punishment demonstrated to the country of Russia was them being eliminated from the world cup while other countries have done similar things for multiple years. I feel that this is a sign that as a society, we must take these circumstances as something we must not only be aware of but acknowledge to better act in the future

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