(AP) In an unprecedented ruling against a club owner, the Premier League ordered Roman Abramovich on Saturday to stop running Chelsea and sell up after he was sanctioned by the British government over Russia’s war on Ukraine and his close links to President Vladimir Putin.
The league board’s decision to disqualify Abramovich from being a director accelerates the end of the Russian oligarch’s 19 years in control of the reigning world and European champions but the club that transformed into a perennial trophy winner by his investment is allowed to play on.
League regulations would usually require Abramovich to relinquish control within 28 days but the British government now has a say in the sale process under the terms of the license that allows the team to continue operating despite the owner’s assets being frozen.
The government welcomed the Premier League’s move against Abramovich, characterizing the disqualification as being part of holding “those who have enabled the Putin regime” to account.
“We are open to a sale of the club and would consider an application for a license to allow that to happen,” the government said.
The government now has oversight of the buyout process which the Raine Group, an investment bank, has been working on since Abramovich last week announced before being sanctioned that the club was up for sale.