Chelsea sanctions window dressing, worthless and totally misplaced
Hysterical Government must get a grip and grow up over Russia
By Mark Sharman
PUNISHMENTS on Chelsea Football Club, under sanctions placed on Roman Abramovich, are among the most irrational and hysterical decisions the Government has made since Boris Johnson won the last election. And after the ever-changing rules on Covid, that’s saying something.
Abramovich is allegedly close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and, according to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, is ‘complicit’ in Putin’s aggression and therefore has the blood of the Ukrainian people on his hands.
OK, so freeze his assets and ban him from travel. But applying the sanctions to the Chelsea football team hurts only the fans, the players and the Chelsea staff.
No new tickets can be sold, which means only season ticket holders can attend. That’s a ban on away fans – and empty stadiums for Champions League and FA Cup matches as season tickets don’t apply. The club’s megastore has been closed, their hotel can no longer take bookings and Chelsea’s travel expenses have been limited to £20,000, which won’t cover the cost of one European flight (although the Government may be flexible on that one.)
Match-day security and hospitality has been limited, which will presumably mean job losses. Former Chelsea player Pat Nevin has claimed during an interview today that staff are already being laid off.
It seems unlikely that Chelsea will be able to sign new players or even extend contracts of existing ones as long as Abramovich is the owner, with the sale of the club frozen for now.
And so the knee-jerk, holier-than-thou virtual signalling goes on. Chelsea’s shirt sponsors “3” have already pulled out, albeit temporarily, and are likely to be followed by Hyundai and Zapp. And Oliver Brown writes in the Daily Telegraph that “Every Chelsea success during the Roman Abramovich era is now tainted”.
Rubbish. Those are football glories, belonging to the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Joe Cole, to Jose Mourinho et al. And especially to the fans, whose lives have been enriched with excitement and silverware. If you start looking to pillory football club owners, the list would be a long one.
So a Government which, in successive terms, has done nothing about Russian ‘investment’ through the City, now thinks it can hurt Abramovich by limiting ticket and shirt sales. The multi-billionaire must be down to his last set of underwear and Putin will be quaking in his boots. The action is window dressing, worthless and totally misplaced.
Whatever happened to the saying that politics and sport don’t mix? It’s not so long ago that FIFA fined England and Scotland for wearing Remembrance Day poppies, yet this weekend every football match around the country displayed the blue and yellow of Ukraine, as football once again “stood together”.
I went to a game to escape the daily flow of bad news, to lose myself in cheering and moaning in equal measure, but the truth is, there is no escape. Even the motorway service station was adorned with blue and yellow with a placard proclaiming Moto Supports Ukraine.
It goes further. The Russian ballet has been banned from various UK venues – and in the most pathetic move of all, Cardiff Philharmonic has removed Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture from a concert. He died in 1893, so the Ukraine conflict is hardly his fault.
Whatever has happened to our nation? Why is there always a ‘worthy’ cause to support, to get angry about, to outwardly show concern? It’s as though a switch has been flicked from Black Lives Matter, to the NHS, to Ukraine, without all the facts ever being to hand. Why are we so easily manipulated, supporting conclusions without fully understanding the questions?
And by the way, nothing specific has been proved against Roman Abramovich. He’s been sentenced without a trial.
What’s more, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is far more complex than we are being told. Of course it is tragic that innocent people have lost their lives, that blood has been shed and neighbourhoods have been destroyed.
But the mainstream media are not to be trusted with the whole truth, as two years of Covid coverage has proved, while the censorship and cancelling of the TV Channel Russia Today has removed any hope of seeing two sides of the story.
It’s time the nation applied a sense of proportion and some grown up critical thinking.
Interesting. If Caesar stops the cake, circuses and vaccines we are going to scratch our heads. Maybe some gesture towards self-reliance and independent thought?
Mark, another well written article pointing out that the media zombies have switched their energy to yet again something they know little about. They went from not knowing they could test for antibodies (as been done for various diseases since 1950) therefore avoiding a vaccine for any disease if the antibodies present- straight into not even knowing there has been an ongoing Ukraine civil war since 2014. The same vehement zombies that hated anti vaxxers (though they had antibodies like most medical staff) jumped to hating Putin over night. Pathetic. I detested him when like Einstein & mark Twain, had his ex wife put in locked psych ward…& Ukraine civilians dying deplorable however USA/uk/nato somehow responsible- particularly when my flight control tower cousin showed me US fighter jets flying from US over UK December 8th headed to Ukraine. Hmmm some kind of magical timing the way the crisis gets relayed to the public 3months later on the back covid restrictions dropped.