Roman Abramovich sanctions: What Chelsea FC restrictions mean for Manchester United and Man City

The revelation that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK Government has rocked English sport.

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Abramovich is one of seven oligarchs currently targeted by the government in the newest round of sanctions as a result of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine. Abramovich has already stated his desire to sell Chelsea and to ‘transfer stewardship’ of the club to trustees, but that process is currently hampered.

While Manchester United and Manchester City are not directly affected by the action, they may be impacted in some ways, with Chelsea’s transfer activity restricted and ticket sales prohibited. Chelsea may pay employees and players, as well as required operating expenditures, in the transfer market, but may not sign new players or finish new contracts.

Chelsea spent almost £100 million last summer, and if the restrictions remain in place until the summer transfer window, they will effectively be under a transfer embargo while City and United seek reinforcements for next season. Chelsea, like with City and United, had been connected with Erling Haaland, but would be unable to sign the Norwegian this summer.

It is also possible that City or United would be barred from acquiring any Chelsea player. Abramovich is barred from benefitting in any way under the new restrictions.

The most significant feature of the new restrictions is that Chelsea will not be able to sell any new tickets for fixtures, which means that only season tickets or tickets already on sale will be able to be utilized. This applies to all competitions whether at home, away, or neutral sites.

This might imply that Chelsea are unable to sell tickets for their away trip to Manchester United on May 15, the season’s penultimate game, unless United are able to sell directly to Chelsea fans. City have already played Chelsea twice, but if Chelsea beats Lille and United beats Atletico Madrid, the two teams might meet in the Champions League quarter-finals or possibly semi-finals. On Wednesday, City qualified for the quarter-finals.

City and Chelsea are both in the FA Cup quarterfinals and might meet in a Wembley semi-final or final. Again, depending on how these tickets are sold, Chelsea fans may be barred from attending such games.

Finally, Abramovich is unable to proceed with the sale of Chelsea, which might stall the team throughout the summer and make mounting a successful Premier League title challenge next season even more difficult. If the fines, which also limit the amount of money that can be spent on match-day expenses and freeze broadcast revenue, have a negative impact on Chelsea’s success this season, United may hope to capitalize in their pursuit of a top-four berth.

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