James Slack, the spokesman for the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said on Monday that Chelsea fans must stop the “completely inappropriate chanting” of owner Roman Abramovich’s name.
Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK Government last week over his alleged ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Abramovich’s assets were frozen by the government, with Chelsea placed under a special licence that allows the club to operate but is unable to generate new income.
Chelsea supporters during Sunday’s Premier League 1-0 win over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge expressed their backing for Abramovich.
The Russian billionaire has brought unprecedented success to Chelsea since he bought the club back in 2003.
However, Boris Johnson’s official spokesman insists Chelsea supporters should not let any achievement blind them to Abramovich’s association to Putin who is leading the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“We recognise the strength of feeling around people’s clubs, but that doesn’t excuse behaviour which is completely inappropriate at this time,” Slack said.
“I think people can show passion and support for their club without resorting to that sort of stuff.
“We are open to the sale of the club; we would consider an application for a licence to allow that to happen in the right circumstances.”
“But it’s for Chelsea to determine the exact process. My understanding is potential buyers would approach the club, who would then need to apply for a further amended licence to facilitate the sale.
“As far as I am aware, that has not happened at this point.”
SaharaReporters, New York