Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich added to UK sanctions list with club's fans prevented from buying new tickets

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been added to the UK’s sanctions list, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said.

She said Vladimir Putin’s attacks on Ukraine involved “new levels of evil by the hour” and the Government had announced further sanctions “against individuals linked to the Russian Government”.

“This list includes Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club,” she said.

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She acknowledged this would have an impact on the Premier League side but a special licence would enable it to continue operating. Mr Abramovich had been attempting to sell the club.

The measures mean only Chelsea season ticket holders will be able to attend matches, with ticket sales for individual matches put on hold.

An official Government document setting out the reasoning behind the sanctions described Mr Abramovich as a "prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch".

It said: "Abramovich is associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilising Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin, with whom Abramovich has had a close relationship for decades.

"This association has included obtaining a financial benefit or other material benefit from Putin and the Government o fRussia. This includes tax breaks received by companies linked to Abramovich, buying and selling shares from and to the state at favourable rates and the contracts received in the run up to the FIFA 2018 World Cup. Therefore, Abramovich has received preferential treatment and concessions from Putin and the Government of Russia."

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been added to the UK’s sanctions list, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said.

The sanctions document added that the Government considers Mr Abramovich to have been directly involved in destabilising Ukraine via his involvement with steel manufacturing and mining company Evraz PLC. The Government document said Mr Abramovich exercises "effective control" over the company.

It said: "Evraz PLC is or has been involved in providing financial services, or making available funds, economic resources, goods or technology that could contribute to destabilising Ukraine or undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence of Ukraine – which includes potentially supplying steel to the Russian military which may have been used in the production of tanks."

Mr Abramovich and Chelsea are yet to comment.

Ms Dorries said on Twitter: “Our priority is to hold those who have enabled the Putin regime to account.

“Today’s sanctions obviously have a direct impact on Chlesea & its fans. We have been working hard to ensure the club & the national game are not unnecessarily harmed by these important sanctions.

“To ensure the club can continue to compete and operate we are issuing a special licence that will allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches while, crucially, depriving Abramovich of benefiting from his ownership of the club.

“I know this brings some uncertainty, but the Government will work with the league & clubs to keep football being played while ensuring sanctions hit those intended. Football clubs are cultural assets and the bedrock of our communities. We’re committed to protecting them.”

Other oligarchs have been sanctioned alongside Roman Abramovich, including Oleg Deripaska – an industrialist worth £2 billion who has had close links with the British political establishment.

The list includes:

– Roman Abramovich: owner of Chelsea FC and has stakes in steel giant Evraz and Norilsk Nickel.

– Oleg Deripaska: has stakes in En+ Group.

– Igor Sechin: chief executive of Rosneft.

– Andrey Kostin: chairman of VTB bank.

– Alexei Miller: CEO of energy company Gazprom.

– Nikolai Tokarev: president of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft.

– Dmitri Lebedev: chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank Rossiya.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine.

“Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people. We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies.”