Chelsea fans urged to stop Abramovich chants

Roman Abramovich has been in charge of Chelsea since 2003

Chelsea supporters have been urged to stop chanting in support of the club’s owner Roman Abramovich.

Fans sang Abramovich’s name during Chelsea’s win at Norwich on Thursday.

Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government as part of its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Technology minister Chris Philp said fans need to remember Abramovich has close ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin, whose regime has committed “barbaric acts” in Ukraine.

“I understand why Chelsea fans have some affection for him, but when the regime he is associated with is committing atrocities that is more important than football,” he told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.

“So I would ask them to think very carefully before doing that again because the barbaric acts of the Putin regime which Abramovich has supported is far more important than football.”

The sanctions, that were imposed on Thursday, mean Abramovich is currently unable to sell the club, though a special licence granted by the government is allowing Chelsea to keep operating.

Philp says the terms of that licence could be altered to allow a sale to go through.

“As the licence conditions are written today, the sale would not be allowed,” he told Sky News.

“However, if a buyer emerged it would be open to that buyer or to that football club to approach the government and ask for the conditions to be varied in a way that allows that sale to take place.”

A spokesman for the Prime Minister later added: “We’re in constant contact with the club and the Premier League over any issues that have been raised through the sanctions and the licence that the Treasury have issued them.

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“It’s now up to the club to apply for any amended licence. I believe Chelsea have said that they will do that, and we’ll obviously work with the club and the league to consider any operationally necessary changes.”

Source: BBC