Downing Street Says Chelsea Fans' Chants In Support Of Roman Abramovich Were “Completely Inappropriate”
Chelsea fans who continue to chant the name of their sanctioned owner Roman Abramovich have been criticised by Downing Street (Alamy)
Number 10 has criticised the behaviour of Chelsea fans who continue to chant the name of the club’s sanctioned owner Roman Abramovich as “completely inappropriate”.
Last week the Russian billionaire had his UK assets frozen by the government over his alleged links to Vladimir Putin.
It put his proposed sale of Chelsea, who he has owned for almost 20 years, into jeopardy, as well as placing tight restrictions on how the team can operate.
In response a minority of supporters sang Abramovich’s name during a minute’s applause which was meant to offer support for those in Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
Despite pleas for them to stop showing their support for him, including by Ukrainian Chelsea fans, a banner featuring the oligarch remained on display in the stands as they played Newcastle at their Stamford Bridge ground on Sunday afternoon.
Asked for their response the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said they understood the loyalty of supporters, but said “that does not excuse this sort of behaviour which is completely inappropriate at this time.”
They added that followers of Chelsea can “show passion and support” for their team without resorting to chanting Abramovich’s name.
A special license was granted to allow the club to continue to operate and fulfil fixtures, although it prevents them from making money - with ticket sales suspended and the club shop closed.
If a buyer was found then the government would have to issue another licence to allow the sale to go through, which Downing Street said they could be open to if Abramovich does not profit from it.
“So we are open to the sale of the club, we'd consider an application for a licence to allow that to happen in the right circumstances, but it's for Chelsea to determine any exact process,” the spokesperson said.
“Obviously, my understanding is potential buyers would approach the club but then need to further facilitate the sale. As far as I'm aware, that hasn't happened.”
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