Ken Bates has denounced that Chelsea are unable to sell match tickets, merchandise or programs due to UK government sanctions against owner Roman Abramovich
Former Chelsea owner Ken Bates has slammed the UK government’s sanctions on Roman Abramovich.
Abramovich has had his assets frozen in the UK, forcing Chelsea to operate under a special sports license which limits what they can do.
The Russian oligarch is still trying to sell the club he has owned since 2003, but the Blues are currently trying to adapt to their severe financial constraints.
Chelsea may not sell tickets or merchandise, buy or sell players or offer new contracts, while company credit cards have been suspended on Fridays and they have financial restrictions that they must adhere to on game days.
Bates bought Chelsea for £1 in 1982 before selling to Abramovich 19 years later for around £140million.
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While the 90-year-old agrees with the decision to sanction Abramovich, who has been described as a ‘pro-Kremlin oligarch’ by the UK government, he is scathing about the implications for his former club Chelsea.
“The fact that you can’t buy a Chelsea match program must mean that [Vladimir] Putin is fucking himself and all the ordinary people in Moscow are hiding in their basements because they can’t see a Chelsea game on TV,” Bates told the Daily Mail .
“As usual, it is ordinary people who are suffering. You probably have people who work in Chelsea who say they have a job? What is their future? Do they have security?
“And [the] supporters at Chelsea. What do they have to do with Putin bomb maternity wards in Ukraine?
“It hurts ordinary English citizens. It makes no difference to Russia. This makes the public service the laughingstock of the world. I’ve dealt with civil servants most of my life and on the whole they’re all pretty darn useless.
“Abramovich turned around and said, ‘I’m going to sell the club and whatever I get I’ll donate to charity.
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“They (the government) took control of the club. Fine. Why didn’t they appoint an administrator and move on?
“Instead, we have all these regulations, which just grab the headlines. “England is taking firm action against Russia.”
“If we are trying to help Ukraine, we should do things that make sense.”
Abramovich is continue efforts to sell Chelsea through the American merchant bank Raine Group and there seem to be many interested parties.
The 55-year-old is said to have set Tuesday as the deadline for submitting bids.
There are three American-led consortia interested in buying the club, and while it’s not yet clear how such a sale would play out under sanctions, Bates doesn’t feel for Abramovich.
“I don’t feel any sympathy for him,” he said.
Why should I? He is worth £7-8 billion. But he can only eat steak and fries twice a day, like me. When he goes to his grave, his shroud will have no more pockets.