Posted by Paul Gray, Lewis Gaut, Chloe Barker, Carolyn Agnew, Natalie Webb and Mark Daley on 11 March 2022
Tagged to Russia, sanctions, Ukraine


As a result of the conflict in Ukraine, the UK, the US, the EU and their allies have imposed additional sanctions on Russian state actors and entities of economic and strategic significance to the Russian state, along with targeted restrictions on certain commercial activities with Russia. Sanctions have also been extended to apply to additional individuals and entities in Belarus because of the country's assistance to Russia.

These additional sanctions are supplementary to the existing Russia, Crimea and Belarus sanctions imposed since 2014.

The implications for the sports industry are significant, as can be seen from recent highly publicised events such as Everton FC's severing of sponsorship ties with Uzbekistan-born billionaire Alisher Usmanov following his assets being subject to UK and EU "asset freeze" sanctions in early March 2022.

On the morning of 10 March 2022, it was announced by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office that a further seven Russian businessmen, including Roman Abramovich the owner of Chelsea Football Club, have been added to the UK’s sanctions list as Designated Persons and made subject to asset-freezing orders and travel bans. This means that Mr Abramovich’s funds and assets, including his shares in Chelsea, have now been frozen. In addition, as it is owned by a Designated Person, Chelsea FC is also now subject to an asset freeze under UK financial sanctions, but with the club being licensed by the UK Treasury still to be able to carry out certain business activities.

This note is a reminder of the legal implications of UK sanctions regulations (most recently updated in relation to Russia in the 2019 Regulations) and considers the effect of some of those provisions on the sports sector.

This note focuses on UK law sanctions provisions. There are also sanctions provisions targeting entities or individuals implemented under wider international sanctions measures, including US and EU sanctions measures. The English law position is stated as of 10 March 2022.

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