Chelsea Seizing will play a lasting role in English football

Many were quick to shout the old line that politics hasn’t belonged in football for far too long. But, as Roman Abramovich’s role as the oligarch of a country currently invading Ukraine leads to the potential end of Chelsea football club as we know it, it is perhaps worth repeating a again that football, on a large scale, goes hand in hand with politics.

It could also be the start. So, as Newcastle United fans celebrate eight games unbeaten, while laughing at Chelsea’s downfall, their ownership – and the immorality that underlies it – is unlikely to be forgotten.

In an ideal world, the fall of the Roman Empire will mark a cleanse in English football. Of course, money talks, however, and what’s ideal for those watching behind the scenes is far from ideal for those sitting above; those who have cash in hand; hand in the always dubious honeypot where this money comes from.

For the first time, the money didn’t win, it seems. Abramovich, one of the villains in this story – no matter how many times his name is chanted at Stamford Bridge – lost. Football, so far, has won. Justice has been done. But where does that leave Chelsea?

The Chelsea freeze will play a lasting role in English football

What this means for Chelsea

In the space of a few days, Chelsea, champion of Europe and the world, can no longer sell merchandise. They can no longer sell tickets. Only subscription holders have the key to the Bridge at this time. Meanwhile, new contracts can be forgotten, as can new transfers. From financial ecstasy, Chelsea gazes at the barrel of financial ruin, according to Matt Lawton of The Times.

In a year, we could see a club in free fall. As it stands, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta will depart at the end of their contracts, leaving Thomas Tuchel with just three senior centre-backs: 37-year-old Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr and Trevoh Chalobah.

Regarding sponsorships, ThreeUK has already pulled out, with the only two bright spots so far being Nike’s commitment to their 15-year kit deal – signed in 2016, as well as Hotel Trivago’s commitment to their deal.

According to Adam Crafton of The Athletic, Nike intends to maintain its partnership, which would be worth 60 million pounds sterling per year. However, the problem arises, why make a kit that does not sell? It’s a question that will have to be answered in the coming weeks, that’s for sure.

What can this lead to?

The football world was right to unite against Roman Abramovich. But, what should not be forgotten in this situation is the warranty left behind; lost jobs and consequent damages; fans risk losing their club. This should, however, lead to an overdue conversation in the Premier League about fan ownership.

It triggers reminders of the fallout from European Super League attempts. This is when football should have acted; this is when a real conversation should have taken place to give fans a lot more ownership of their club. Once again, however, money trumps morals and we are left with a Russian oligarch finally caught off guard and a club potentially left in ruins.

It’s all well and good to enjoy the money without the questions, but when the questions come and the answers come in stuttering, ominous panic, things can get far from pleasant, as Chelsea discovered.

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