Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been hit with fresh sanctions, with the European Union (EU) taking action over his connections with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Abramovich, 55, was one of seven Russian oligarchs to have his assets frozen by the UK government last Thursday.
That was a step taken due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the EU has followed suit by announcing it will also impose measures.
The EU Council described Abramovich as an “oligarch close to Vladimir Putin”, listing him among 15 individuals and nine entities to be added to its sanctions list.
Abramovich, whose net worth was estimated by UK authorities to be in the region of £9.4billion, has previously been photographed with Putin, President of Russia.
Due to the UK asset freeze, Abramovich has been unable to press ahead with a decision to sell Chelsea on his terms, and he will not be allowed to profit from his ownership of the club, with ticket and merchandise sales suspended.
The EU Council said of Abramovich: “Roman Abramovich is a Russian oligarch who has long and close ties to Vladimir Putin. He has had privileged access to the president and has maintained very good relations with him.
“This connection with the Russian leader helped him to maintain his considerable wealth. He is a major shareholder of the steel group Evraz, which is one of Russia’s largest taxpayers. He has therefore been benefiting from Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilisation of Ukraine.
“He is also one of the leading Russian businesspersons involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the Government of the Russian Federation, which is responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of Ukraine.”
Chelsea are due in European action on Wednesday when they are scheduled to face Lille in the second leg of a last-16 Champions League tie, defending a 2-0 lead.
They won the competition last year, beating Manchester City 1-0 in the final, for their second Champions League triumph of the Abramovich era.