A spokesman for the British PM urged Chelsea fans to avoid any shows of support for the Russian billionaire
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman has said that Chelsea fans must stop their “completely inappropriate” chants of support for club owner Roman Abramovich.
Prior to his assets being frozen by the UK government in the wake of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and alleged links to President Vladimir Putin, Abramovich had put the club up for sale on March 2 with the Saudi Media Group said to have made a concrete $3.5 billion offer on Monday.
At the weekend during their side’s 1-0 home win over Newcastle United sealed by an 89th minute Kai Havertz winner, a pocket of Chelsea fans again voiced their support for Abramovich with chants during the second half that Johnson’s spokesman has since dubbed “completely inappropriate,” while a “Roman Empire” banner with Abramovich’s face and the Russian flag on it was also proudly on display.
“We recognize the strength of feeling around people’s clubs but that does not excuse behavior which is completely inappropriate at this time,” the spokesman said.
“I think people can show passion and support for their club without resorting to that sort of stuff,” he added.
UK PM Boris Johnson's spokesperson says Chelsea fans chants for Abramovich are 'completely inappropriate'. And adds: "People can show passion & support for their club without resorting to that sort of stuff."Thankfully, it was well self-policed at Stamford Bridge yesterday.
— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) March 14, 2022
With Chelsea currently operating on a special license which allows them to play fixtures but not generate new revenue – with only season ticket holders and no away support allowed to their home games – the spokesman also confirmed that the government is “open to the sale of the club.”
“We would consider an application for a license to allow that to happen in the right circumstances,” the spokesman stated.
“But it is for Chelsea to determine the exact process. My understanding is potential buyers would approach the club, who would then need to apply for a further amended license to facilitate the sale. As far as I’m aware that hasn’t happened at this point,” he revealed.
The British government will therefore oversee Chelsea’s sale to make sure Abramovich cannot benefit from it in any way, with New York investment bank the Raine Group also involved.