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Chelsea cleared to play in Champions League by Uefa ahead of Lille clash after EU sanctions Roman Abramovich


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Chelsea have been cleared to play in the Champions League after the European Union hit owner Roman Abramovich with sanctions on the eve of their Last 16 game against Lille.

The club had already departed for France when news broke that the EU had joined the UK Government in sanctioning Abramovich for links to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Uefa acted quickly to establish what this meant for the club’s continued participation in the Champions League. They carry a two goal lead into the second leg against Lille and are expected to progress to the quarter-finals.

A Uefa source indicated that the EU was following the UK’s sanctions and while Russian oligarch Abramovich’s assets were being frozen his club would be permitted to continue operating under the same strict measures to ensure the club’s owner did not profit from income.

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“Uefa is fully committed to always implementing relevant EU and international sanctions,” a Uefa spokesperson told i.

“Our understanding is that the present case is assessed in the context of the licence issued in the UK which allows Chelsea FC to continue minimum football activity whilst providing a safeguard that no financial gain will result for Mr Abramovich.

“We will work with the EU and relevant member states to ensure we have full clarity and remain in lockstep with all relevant and applicable measures in line with latest developments.”

The spokesperson added: “As it stands the match is taking place as scheduled.”

Chelsea officials have been in daily talks with representatives of the Treasury and department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport since Abramovich was sanctioned for supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The club are in financial turmoil and have been lobbying hard for restrictions to be eased so they do not go out of business.

But Chelsea faced a fierce backlash on Tuesday when the club lodged a request for their FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough to be played behind closed doors after the Government blocked them from selling away tickets. Middlesbrough had already sold out their allocation.

The request was withdrawn a few hours later after even the Chelsea Suppoerters’ Trust called for them to remove it.

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