Chelsea fans face up to future without Abramovich

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Mon, 14 Mar 2022 - 11:40 GMT

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Mon, 14 Mar 2022 - 11:40 GMT

 

LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) -
Chelsea fans arriving on Sunday for the Blues' first home match under government control said they were worried that an era of glittering success might be over after owner Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich was hit with an asset freeze last week.
Chelsea are in a state of limbo after the British government sanctioned Abramovich and other Russian businessmen as it sought to increase the isolation of President Vladimir Putin for his decision to invade Ukraine.
 
What a ride we had with Abramovich," Claire Mitchell, a season ticket-holder since the 1970s, said as she headed for Stamford Bridge.
 
"I don't think we'll ever have a better owner because he genuinely loved Chelsea. My fear is we get an asset stripper, people who know nothing of football and that emotional commitment who brings us down."
 
The government last week said Abramovich had close ties to Putin over decades. Abramovich has denied having such ties.
 
The reigning European and world champions are now operating under a special government licence which includes strict rules on operating expenses including how much the club can spend on travel for away fixtures and a ban on new ticket sales.
 
The team can continue playing games and pay players and staff but cannot buy or sell players, a major problem for the club as they seek to remain a major force in the game.

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