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Chelsea fans displayed a Roman Abramovich banner during their match on Sunday
Chelsea fans displayed a Roman Abramovich banner during their match on Sunday (AFP via Getty)

Former Chelsea owner Ken Bates has criticised the restrictions imposed on the club after Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the British Government.

Chelsea have been granted a licence to continue all football-related activity by the Government but in response to Abramovich’s assets being frozen, the club are unable to sell tickets to supporters, sign players or renew contracts.

And Bates, who sold Chelsea to Abramovich for £140 million in 2003, believes the Government’s decision means that ‘ordinary people’ are ‘suffering’ as a result of the Russian oligarch being sanctioned.

‘The fact that you can’t buy a Chelsea match programme must mean that Putin is s****** himself and all the ordinary people of Moscow are hiding in their cellars because they can’t see a Chelsea match on TV,’ Bates told MailOnline.

‘As usual it is the ordinary people who are suffering. You’ve probably got people working at Chelsea saying do they have a job? What is their future? Do they have security? And fans at Chelsea. What have they got to do with Putin bombing maternity hospitals in Ukraine?

‘That is hurting ordinary, English citizens. Makes no difference at all to Russia.

Ken Bates sold Chelsea to Roman Abramovich for £140 million in 2003
Ken Bates sold Chelsea to Roman Abramovich for £140 million in 2003 (AP)

‘It makes the Civil Service a laughing stock of the world. I’ve dealt with civil servants most of my life and, by and large, they’re all bloody useless.

‘Abramovich turned around and said, ‘I’m going sell the club and whatever I get I’m going to give to charity’. They [the Government] have taken over the club. Fine. Why didn’t they appoint an administrator and get on with it?

‘Instead we’ve got all these regulations, which just get some good headlines. ‘England takes firm action against Russia.’ If we are trying to help Ukraine we should be doing things that are meaningful.’

Speaking about Abramovich’s sanctions, Bates replied: ‘I don’t feel sympathy for him. Why should I? He’s worth £7-8billion.

‘But he can only eat steak and chips twice a day, same as me. When he goes to his grave, his shroud won’t have any pockets in it.’

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Source: Metro Sport

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