Chelsea set to lose FIVE players including Anotnio Rudiger following Roman Abramovich sanction

0
49


A number of key first-team players are set to depart Chelsea this summer after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK Government on Thursday morning, a decision which has thrown the London club into turmoil.   

Included are club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and key central defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, whose contracts are set to expire this summer. 

Abramovich was one of seven oligarchs to be hit with an asset freeze, not only making his plan to sell the club impossible but also having significant ramifications on the side’s day-to-day functions. 

Chelsea’s status as a ‘significant cultural asset’ has seen the club granted a special licence to continue playing, with their Premier League clash against Norwich on Thursday night going ahead as planned. 

Abramovich will be deprived of any profits, however, with the club also banned from selling match tickets or signing new players moving forward. 

Crucially, they won’t be able to tie any of their players down to new contracts, though they will continue to be paid in full, alongside all staff members at the club.  

Roman Abramovich is among seven oligarchs to be sanctioned by the UK government

 Roman Abramovich is among seven oligarchs to be sanctioned by the UK government 

Antonio Rudiger is set to leave Chelsea with his contract due to expire this summer

Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta's contract will also run out this summer

Chelsea are now set to lose five players this summer, including Antonio Rudiger (left) and Cesar Azpilicueta (right) 

It means 25-year-old midfielder Charly Musonda Jr will depart when his contract expires this summer, alongside loanee Saul Niguez, as Chelsea will be unable to activate the existing option to buy for the Atletico Madrid star. 

More of a concern for manager Thomas Tuchel is the futures of Azpilicueta, Rudiger and Christensen, all of whom had been heavily linked with exits prior to the sanction. 

Rudiger, 29, has been linked with Manchester United, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle of late, despite previously refusing to rule out the possibility he could extend his contract. 

Rudiger has been attracting interest from the likes of Real Madrid, PSG and Manchester United

Rudiger has been attracting interest from the likes of Real Madrid, PSG and Manchester United

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel admitted he fears Roman Abramovich's sale of the club could impact negotiations with out of contract players

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel admitted he fears Roman Abramovich’s sale of the club could impact negotiations with out of contract players

The German has emerged as one of the world’s best in his position since his £31million transfer from Roma in 2017, approaching 200 appearances for the club and playing a major role in their FA Cup, Europa League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup triumphs.   

Meanwhile, Barcelona are interested in snapping up Christensen and Azpilicueta on free transfers this summer, with Tuchel last week admitting he was fearful key members of his squad could depart. 

‘The bottom line is maybe we can’t help it – it is what it is,’ Tuchel said. ‘You never know maybe it has a positive effect on the negotiations or maybe it has a negative effect.

‘We cannot predict and I would like not to predict on scenarios because you just lose focus, but everyone has a different situation and feels different about it (the sale).

‘I hope for the best outcome still, I think we have something to offer still. Chelsea are a strong club and will stay a strong club.’ 

The Stamford Bridge faithful will also be affected by the sanction, with the club banned from selling home and away tickets, meaning only those who have already bought tickets – including 28,000 season ticket holders – will be allowed to attend games.  

Chelsea will continue playing all its fixtures due to its status as a 'significant cultural asset', but only season ticket holders will be allowed to attend games at Stamford Bridge (pictured)

Chelsea will continue playing all its fixtures due to its status as a ‘significant cultural asset’, but only season ticket holders will be allowed to attend games at Stamford Bridge (pictured) 

Abramovich’s sanction was announced on Thursday morning. Speaking about the decision, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine. 

‘Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people. We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies.’

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss added: ‘Today’s sanctions show once again that oligarchs and kleptocrats have no place in our economy or society. With their close links to Putin they are complicit in his aggression.

‘The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands. They should hang their heads in shame. Our support for Ukraine will not waver. We will not stop in this mission to ramp up the pressure on the Putin regime and choke off funds to his brutal war machine.’

Extra measures have been taken to ensure Abramovich cannot profit from Chelsea’s activities in the Premier League. The club will be allowed finish their season as planned but only ‘existing ticket holders’ – including fans with season tickets – will be allowed to attend games.

Speaking about the decision, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: ‘Today’s sanctions obviously have a direct impact on Chelsea and its fans.

‘We have been working hard to ensure the club and the national game are not unnecessarily harmed by these important sanctions.

‘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.

The sanctions will come into place before Abramovich is able to sell Chelsea as he planned

The sanctions will come into place before Abramovich is able to sell Chelsea as he planned  

‘I know this brings some uncertainty, but the government will work with the league and clubs to keep football being played while ensuring sanctions hit those intended. Football clubs are cultural assets and the bedrock of our communities. We’re committed to protecting them.’

The decision to sanction Abramovich and the six other oligarchs came after Defence minister James Heappey referred to the bombing of a maternity hospital in Ukraine was a war crime.

Heappey subsequently called for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to be held to account for his actions. 

Therefore, the Foreign Office said the Economic Crime Bill – which is coming into force next week – will allow UK Government to move further and faster than ever on sanctions’ to pressure Putin.

The decision to sanction him came after Russia bombed Mariupol's maternity hospital (above)

The decision to sanction him came after Russia bombed Mariupol’s maternity hospital (above)

Abramovich's one time business partner, Oleg Deripaska (pictured), has also been sanctioned

Abramovich’s one time business partner, Oleg Deripaska (pictured), has also been sanctioned 

Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelensky has described the attack on the maternity hospital as an ‘atrocity’ and ‘the ultimate proof of genocide against Ukrainians’.

The hospital – which is located in the besieged city of Mariupol – was hit ‘several times’ by high-explosive Russian bombs.

One of those bombs missed the building by several yards and left a crater two-stories deep, officials said. 

Meanwhile, other bombs scored ‘direct hits’ according to President Zelensky. It is believe at least 17 people have been wounded by the attack.   

The Ukrainian deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna went on to say that there is ‘no doubt’ that the hospital was deliberately ‘targeted’ by Russia.  

Seven more oligarchs sanctioned by UK 

Roman Abramovich is one of seven Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the UK Government today. 

The Government estimates his wealth at more than £9billion and notes his stakes in steel giant Evraz, Norilsk Nickel and ownership of Chelsea FC.

‘He is one of the few oligarchs from the 1990s to maintain prominence under Putin,’ a Government spokesman said.

The other oligarchs sanctioned today are: 

  • Oleg Deripaska: Estimated wealth of £2billion and a multi-million-pound Uk property portfolio. Subject to US sanctions since 2018. Has stakes in En+ Group, a major extractives and energy company which owns UC Rusal, one of the world’s major aluminium producers.
  • Igor Sechin: Chief Executive of Rosneft, the Russian state oil company. The Government said he is ‘particularly close and influential ally of Putin’. Already sanctioned by the US and EU.
  • Andrey Kostin: Chairman of VTB bank, the second largest bank in Russia. A ‘close associate of Putin’ who has ‘long supported Kremlin objectives through VTB Bank’. Net worth of £379 million. Already sanctioned by the US and EU.
  • Alexei Miller: Chief executive of  of energy company Gazprom. Served under Putin when autocrat was mayor of St Petersburg. Already sanctioned by the US.
  • Nikolai Tokarev: President of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft. Former KGB agent who served alongside Putin in East Germany. Already sanctioned by the US and EU.
  • Dmitri Lebedev: Chairman of Bank Rossiya, which is ‘widely considered to be the Kremlin’s private bank’. Sanctioned by the US in 2016.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here