Oligarchs like Roman Abramovich are using football clubs to launder money, suggests Sadiq Khan

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government and is desperate to sell the west London club as soon as possible after all his assets were frozen.

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Thomas Tuchel reacts to a strange day at Chelsea

London Mayor Sadiq Khan appeared to suggest that oligarchs, such as Roman Abramovich, used businesses, such as football clubs, to launder money.

The claims come amid wider scrutiny of football club ownership after sanctions were imposed on Blues owner Abramovich by the UK government.

The billionaire had his assets frozen in the UK following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, although he continues to deny any links to President Vladimir Putin.

On Saturday, the Premier League confirmed they had suspended Abramovich as club manager.

Khan has now claimed Abramovich should never have been allowed to buy the west London club in 2003 and called for stricter rules in the game’s ownership structures.

Have your say! Should Abramovich have been allowed to manage Chelsea? Tell us what you think here.

Khan claimed Premier League clubs were being used to ‘launder money’

Khan was speaking to Football Joe about the penalties Abramovich was facing and the ownership issues surrounding the Premier League.

When asked if Abramovich should have been allowed to buy Chelsea 19 years ago, the Mayor of London replied: “No.

“I think Jurgen Klopp spoke for a lot, and not just from the perspective of Liverpool fans, when he said, ‘Wait a second, this is not something new.’

“I think the Premier League needs to look at those who acquire football clubs, to determine if they are ‘fit and suitable’ to run football clubs.

“I can understand, as a fan, and I speak as a fan, why you would want your club to succeed.

“A lot of times you only do well if you have the money to buy the best players, the best manager and the best facilities.

“But I think those who regulate the game, those who are responsible for deciding who owns a club, should have much stronger controls when it comes to ownership.

“The reality is that Russian oligarchs close to Putin have used property, businesses, including football clubs in London, to help them launder their money.

Khan – a Liverpool fan – insisted there needed to be tougher regulations on football club ownership

“And it is right and fitting that we finally wake up.

“But that’s not the only example of Premier League clubs being used in a way that I think is inappropriate.”

Roman Abramovich was approached to comment on Khan’s apparent claims.

The Blues are now operating under a special license – severely limiting their sources of income – and shirt sponsors Three have suspended their partnership, worth £40million a year.

Barclays have also suspended the club’s bank account and it’s possible the Blues could face financial armageddon by the summer due to the precarious situation.

It is against this backdrop that the club are keen to complete the sale of club ownership as soon as possible with Saudi Media making an offer to buy the Blues.

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David C. Barham