Chelsea credit cards frozen by Barclays over Abramovich sanctions


Chelsea’s ability to function day-to-day was further complicated on Friday after Barclays temporarily froze the club’s credit cards, sources have told ESPN.

The news, which was first reported by the Timescomes after the club’s assets were frozen on Thursday following UK government sanctions against owner Roman Abramovich

The Blues have been given a license to continue filling fixtures and paying staff but rely on cash reserves to operate with various revenue streams halted as part of government action against Abramovich over his alleged links with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sources have told ESPN that the spending limits – which include a cap of around £20,000 ($26,000) on out-of-town travel and a £500,000 ($652,000) limit on the cost of hosting home games – led Barclays to suspend the club’s credit cards over fears of breaking government rules.

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The club remain in dialogue with the government over easing some of the restrictions and senior Chelsea officials hope their company credit cards will be unblocked in the coming days to allow for greater financial freedom.

Discussions are continuing to allow the club greater access to revenue generation as it is feared that Chelsea will not be able to generate enough funds to continue to meet their obligations if the sanctions continue for an extended period.

The club’s latest accounts, published in December for the year ending June 30, 2021, showed a cash balance of just £17m ($22.2m), a figure well below many of their rivals.

There remains a possibility that if the government decides not to make certain financial concessions, the club could become technically insolvent in the coming weeks, which could trigger a nine-point deduction under Premier League rules.

However, Abramovich is expected to apply for a separate license to sell the club, with interested parties asking to be kept informed of how a bid might unfold with government involvement.

As the club is a frozen asset by the government, bidders will need approval from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for any sale to go through.

Abramovich is now all but certain he won’t find a buyer willing to pay his £3bn ($3.9bn) asking price given the current situation, but a quick sale at a discount looks increasingly the most viable option for all parties.

The immediate photo of Chelsea underlines the seriousness of the situation. There will be no match program sales for Sunday’s Premier League home game against Newcastle United.

The club have yet to decide what to wear on the front of their kit after shirt sponsor Three temporarily suspended their £40m-a-year ($52.4m) deal with the club on Thursday.

The club shop remains closed, the hotel at Stamford Bridge can no longer take bookings until further notice and Chelsea cannot sell tickets for matches other than those already sold to season ticket holders and ticket holders. individual match tickets.

There remains hope that the club can find a way to fill Stamford Bridge by giving the profits to Ukraine victims, but that would not solve the club’s cash flow problems.

Chelsea will not have to re-route their Champions League Round of 16 trip to Lille next week as the trip has already been paid for before Thursday’s government intervention.

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