Chelsea, Arsenal Russian owners in danger

There are fears United Kingdom authorities may clamp down on Russian owners of Chelsea and Arsenal in the wake of the diplomatic spat between England and Russia.

The worlds of politics and sport have been fused together in recent days in the wake of the alleged Russian assassination attempt on a former spy and his daughter in Salisbury.

On Sunday, Rory Smith of the New York Times looks into how Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich and Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov could be dragged into the UK-Russia tensions.

Last week in the Times, journalist Matthew Syed was the first to suggest that Abramovich risks losing Chelsea FC.

Syed has long voiced his belief that Abramovich only bought Chelsea “for protection” in case Vladimir Putin came after him.

Syed suggested that Abramovich could now lose his Premier League club as Russian oligarchs in the UK could have their assets seized.

Both Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, and her foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, have raised the possibility of striking back at Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, by targeting the assets of oligarchs living in London.

Alexei Navalny, the most prominent opposition figure in Moscow, has suggested such a move would win public approval in Russia.

Navalny has named Abramovich and Usmanov as prime targets if May follows through on threats to strip Russian tycoons of their assets.

Yet, for as long as the political turmoil continues, Abramovich and Usmanov will be looking over their shoulder.
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