Roman Abramovich - Photo: EPA/ANDY RAIN

Sale of Chelsea FC has to be approved by Portugal

Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich is Portugal’s richest citizen…

The craziness of current times has led to Portugal being a key player in authorising the most lucrative sports club sale in history.

This is because owner Roman Abramovich has Portuguese nationality (albeit now the subject of various inquiries and a criminal case) – and as his assets (where they have been found) are frozen due to sanctions imposed on Russians close to the Putin regime, the government here has to play its part.

Minister for Foreign Affairs João Gomes Cravinho has confirmed that “obviously we are in dialogue with the British government; we are in dialogue with the European Commission (…) we will be intransigent in the application of our legal obligations”.

Portugal’s head of diplomacy stressed that “in relation to Chelsea, naturally there is an absolutely fundamental point: Portugal applies sanctions that were decreed by the European Union. We do so rigorously, without exceptions, and this is the way we will continue to apply sanctions…”

At issue is the purchase of Chelsea FC by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, for a purported €4.9 billion.

This money is expected to be given to a humanitarian charity, and the deal will hopefully be secured by the end of today.

As various media outlets have explained, negotiations have gone to the wire to ensure the sale goes through before the end of the month, when Chelsea loses the temporary licence it was awarded by the British government to continue operating while Mr Abramovich remains the subject of international sanctions.

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