As reported by The Times, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich did not buy any corporate boxes at Stamford Bridge this season for the first time in nearly a decade.
Abramovich has spent in the region of £1 million to £3 million every year on corporate hospitality, but with reports of the Russian’s UK residency application not being renewed and growing tension between his home nation and the UK, this marks yet another signal from the oligarch that his time in West London may be nearing an abrupt and unsavoury end.
The decision from the billionaire owner is revealed in the accounts of Fordstam, Chelsea’s parent company, which have been submitted at Companies House.
After the news of Abramovich’s issues with renewal of his rights to live and work in the UK, Chelsea announced that plans for a new 60,000-seat stadium had been put on hold.
In 2017, Chelsea’s accounts showed sales of £1.028 million to “the ultimate controlling party, Mr R Abramovich, relating to corporate hospitality boxes”. The 2018 accounts show that no sales of corporate boxes were made to the owner, marking the end of sustained interest in the form of corporate hospitality from the Russian.
“The loans are currently held in the accounts at their present value, using a market rate of interest.”
“The football club continues to balance success on the field together with the financial imperatives of complying with Uefa and Premier League financial regulations, which it has done since 2012 and expects to do for the foreseeable future,” the accounts state.
In September it was revealed that Switzerland had refused to provide Abramovich residency due to police advising that there were reasons to believe that “the applicant’s assets are at least partially of illegal origin”.
Daniel Glasl, Abramovich’s Swiss lawyer, stated at the time: “Any suggestion that Mr Abramovich has been involved in money laundering or has contacts with criminal organisations is totally false.
“Mr Abramovich has never been charged with participating in money laundering and does not have a criminal record. He has never had, or been alleged to have, connections with criminal organisations.”