An MP has called for Chelsea to be seized from Roman Abramovich, claiming the Blues boss shouldn’t be allowed to own the Premier League club.
On Thursday morning Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine, leading to calls for stronger sanctions against Russian individuals who are ‘of concern’ to the British government.
Abramovich has denied any strong links to Putin, and won a court case against publisher HarperCollins last year over the publication of a book about the Russian President, that claimed he ordered Abramovich to buy Chelsea in 2003.
However, despite that, the 55-year-old remains ‘of interest’ due to any links he may have to the Russian government, and there has now been calls for him to lose the ownership of Chelsea.
Labour MP Chris Bryant said he had seen “a leaked document from 2019 from the Home
which says in relation to Mr Abramovich – ‘As part of HMG’s Russia strategy aimed at targeting illicit finance and malign activity, Abramovich remains of interest to HMG due to his links to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices.’
“That is nearly three years ago and yet remarkably little has been done in relation.
“Surely Mr Abramovich should no longer be able to own a football club in this country?
“Surely we should be looking at seizing some of his assets including his £152 million home? And making sure that other people who have had Tier 1 Visas like this are not engaged in malign activity?”
Abramovich no longer resides in the UK and withdrew his UK visa application back in 2018, moving to Israel nearly four years ago.
Since then the Russian has acquired both Israeli and Portuguese citizenship and has rarely been seen at Stamford Bridge over the past few years.
He returned to west London to watch the club in November, which was his first visit in about three years, though he was at the Champions League final in Porto last year, to see his team become European champions for the second time.
Football has already been affected by today’s news, with this year’s Champions League final set to be moved away from St Petersburg’s Gazprom Arena.
Footballers have begun speaking out against Russia’s actions too, with Fedor Smolov the first from his country to speak in support of Ukraine.
Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazilian contingent have also spoken out, calling for help on a way out of the country.
Featured Image Credit: PA