Chelsea’s credit card facilities suspended while banks assess sanctions  

Roman Abramovich

Chelsea’s credit card facilities have been temporarily suspended while banks assess the implications of sanctions imposed on Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

The club has been given a special licence to operate despite Abramovich having his assets frozen by the UK government.

Banks want to assess the licence criteria to ensure it does not breach the government’s sanctions and Chelsea do not know when the suspension will be lifted.

As part of the licence terms, Chelsea cannot receive money for match tickets which have not already been sold, future gate receipts for FA Cup games or merchandise from the club shop.

That is likely to leave the club with a huge shortfall, with their monthly wage bill amounting to £28m a month.

In discussions with the government on Thursday and Friday, Chelsea made applications to change the terms of the licence which would allow the club to receive money for ticket sales, and also boost its limits on spending.

The current licence allows £500,000 to be spent on home matches and allows a £20,000 limit on away travel.

Talks were also held regarding an amendment to the licence about a potential sale of the club and included Raine Group – the American investment firm instructed to handle the sale before Abramovich was sanctioned.

On Friday, a spokesman for the Prime Minister later said the government was “in constant contact” with Chelsea and the Premier League and said the Blues could apply for an “amended licence”.

They added: “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.”

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The club has already sold tickets for its game at home to Newcastle on Sunday and Chelsea are set to travel to Lille for a Champions League tie on Wednesday. The home match against Brentford on 2 April is sold out, but tickets will not be able to be sold for games after that.

It is unclear what would happen to gate receipts for the club’s FA Cup quarter-final against Championship side Middlesbrough on 19 March, with 45% going to each team.

Source: BBC