Will Chelsea keep third spot as uncertainty mounts and players head for exit?

March 22 – Premier League Chelsea have been remarkably resilient in the pitch as their commercial world has crumbled around them off it.

The UK government’s decision to impose sanctions on its owner, Roman Abramovich, has not stopped the team going on an unbeaten run to hold their third position in the Premier League as well as progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League and the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

While the team are doing their business on the pitch they have been overshadowed by business off it with the sale of the club aimed for completion before the end of May.

Doubts have arisen over whether a sale can be completed legally. While Abramovich’s assets have been frozen he might have legal recourse to claim ownership, hence stalling any sale and leaving the operation of the club, currently under a restrictive license from the UK government, verging on the impossible.

A confused ownership situation

With Abramovich’s assets frozen, the consequences have had an immediate affect on Chelsea. Pat Nevin, Chelsea’s former player, revealed that already Club employees have been laid off, with the atmosphere around Stamford Bridge tense.

At the extreme end of possible outcomes is that while a license to allow the club to play the rest of the EPL seasonhas been issued, it seems unlikely to be renewed unless Abramovich signs off on a deal that will see him earn nothing. The sale deadline is set for May 31 and if Abramovich doesn’t sell the club, then Chelsea will no longer be welcome to join any other tournaments including the Champions League even if they qualify for it.

Boris Johnson, the UK’s prime minister, spoke about the country’s sanctions saying: “There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine. With their close links to Putin, they are complicit in his aggression. The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands.”

The uncertainty is having an impact across the football business. Even on longer term football wagering. Advice is before participating in football betting from 10CRIC or any other betting sites to bet on Chelsea, it’s best to wait until you’re sure that the team’s future is secure.

The sale of the club looks toi be the only way that it will be allowed to continue and the UK government is confident there will be no impediment with a government spokesperson saying a sale could be allowed despite the restrictions on the assets of the Russian owner. “A specific license can be granted to allow any sale to proceed. But under no circumstance would any sale allow Roman Abramovich to profit from that or take any money from that sale.”

Under this license, Chelsea can continue in business and pay wages to its almost 1000 staff. However, they will not be allowed to sell more tickets this season and this could give the team a loss of up to £600,000. The team has also been forced to close its Megastore.

The team also has it rough when it comes to budget as they are only permitted to spend £20,000 per game on travel costs for away matches. This is a big struggle because a Champions League trip alone could cost over £60,000.

Aside from these, Chesea can only earn money from food and drink sales. The club has also  been slapped with a transfer ban and issuing new contracts. To top it all off, the club is also facing a threat of points deduction. With all that, five players have now confirmed that they will leave Chelsea this summer.

Will Chelsea finish the season as winners?

Fans are disappointed, many furious, saying that they are also suffering from the future’s uncertainty. However, the team is still delivering on the pitch and looks secure for a third place league finish.

Even after the sanctions on Abramovich were confirmed, the Premier League confirmed that the board’s decision will not impact the club’s ability to train and play the rest of the season.

Throuhgout all of this there has been little comment from Abramovich on the sales process. Abramovich had hoped the sale would benefit the Chelsea foundation but there are no updates about this as yet. Abramovich is a ciondemned man in terms of his Chelsea ownership, he has still failed to condemn the acts of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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