Chelsea sanctions NOT fair

The air of uncertainty lingers around the present and future of Chelsea Football Club as the UK government sanctioned Roman Abramovich for his ties with Vladimir Putin. All of his assets have been frozen as of now. The startling announcement on Thursday morning will allegedly deter Abramovich’s attempts to sell the club for the time being. A few days back, Abramovich voluntarily agreed to forfeit the ownership and sell the club, considering the current scenario. While it is understandable to question the authority and involvement of Abramovich in the club to some degree, handicapping Chelsea football club and everyone involved is very debatable.

Chelsea in jeopardy

As per the UK government, Chelsea can no longer sell new tickets for future matches or sell the club shop merchandise. However, the season-ticket holders can attend matches. They can’t generate income outside of existing contracts, so they can continue to receive broadcast money. But even those funds would be frozen. They also cannot agree on new contracts for existing players. Current deals of Christensen, Azpilicueta and Rudiger will expire at the end of the season, which can put them in a pickle. There are restrictions even on their costs of travel, security, catering, and stewarding. All these restraints can have massive implications on this season and the upcoming season of Chelsea. Following these shocking announcements, the sponsors like Hyundai, Three are already pulling the plug in the sponsorship deals. Chelsea will reportedly lose more than £600,000 every match.

Impact on many

A football club – especially the club as big as Chelsea – isn’t only about authority and management. Plenty of people and lives are dependent on it. A club deploys players, support staff, ground staff, and plenty more in various departments. Such sanctions can not only take a toll on the financial aspect of those people, but also on their emotional and mental aspects. On top of that, this affects millions of fans across the globe. For many, football is more than just a sport and their beloved club more than just an entity. The love for the game and club gives them joy, pride, happiness, hope, sanctity, and distraction. People have gone through a lot in the past couple of years. Only recently have they gotten to enjoy the game better. And taking that away from the Chelsea fans is certainly NOT fair.

Image source: Oli SCARFF / AFP

Call for solidarity

Often, it’s the innocent people that suffer the most in wars and conflicts, and this is yet another instance. Be it those people in wars, whether in Ukraine or Russia, it is mostly the common and innocent people who bear the brunt of this dispute. Those in power – those making decisions at such a level – rarely face the consequences. These sanctions by the UK government also establish that. Boycotting Russian people or throwing a football club under the bus isn’t going to solve the problem. If anything, it aggravates the situation. In these trying times, the leaders should stand out and stand for solidarity and benevolence setting an example for others to follow the suit.

There have been several previous instances where powerful countries have undermined and threatened the territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence, and freedom of less powerful countries and people. Where were these leaders when that was happening? You can’t pick and choose when to be compassionate and cooperative if you are that big on humanity. Speaking of humanity, putting many lives and livelihood in jeopardy, undermining fans’ emotions and sentiments, when the club owner was stepping down at his discretion and amenable to do everything required, is certainly NOT fair at all. Wish people; notably, leaders come to their senses and advocate peace and unity in proper actions, not these absurd sanctions.