Former Chelsea owner Ken Bates has criticised the restrictions imposed on the London club after Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK Government.
The Blues have been granted a licence to continue all football-related activity by the Government but in response to Abramovich’s assets being frozen, they are unable to sell tickets to fans, sign players or renew contracts.
And Bates, who sold Chelsea to Abramovich for £140m in 2003, believes the Government’s decision means that ‘ordinary people’ are already ‘suffering’ as a result of the Russian billionaire 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.
‘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 continued: ‘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.’