Roman Abramovich has been facing legal troubles over the last few weeks as the news came to light that the renewal of his UK investor visa was being delayed.
This was the reason for his absence at the FA Cup final where Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0, confirmed by his friend who has said the process was taking longer than expected.
The Blues owner was, of course, putting the cogs into place for a new, much bigger stadium but plans for that have been forced on hold. This is because of the Russian’s reluctance to invest an expected £1 billion into a London project when he is being denied his visa in the country.
Changes made to the visa system in 2015 mean that foreign investors may need to prove the source of their wealth, something which may have held up the 51-year-old’s application.
Something that has added more fuel to the fire is that Abramovich has secured an Israeli passport which does allow him up to six months visa-free travel to the United Kingdom. However, 10 Downing Street has said he will not be able to work if he does visit using that Israeli passport.
The recent conflicts between the English and Russian governments following the nerve agent scandal certainly won’t have gone in the Chelsea owner’s favour. Not only does that affect his own business but also that of the club as the FA Cup winners are expected to hire a new manager this summer with Antonio Conte’s future in major doubt. Punters are increasingly turning to sites such as this William Hill review where they can claim a promo code for a free bet to wager on Chelsea’s next permanent manager.
The Blues are also looking into the possibility of building a new stadium as Stamford Bridge is becoming far too small, especially in comparison to the Emirates, the London Stadium and White Hart Lane which are all based just across London.
The chance of a temporary move to either Wembley or the London Stadium was even discussed and explored but that has been put on the back-burner with talks of the new ground being moved off the agenda. In the fallout of the visa news, Chelsea issued a statement stating that work on Stamford Bridge was being indefinitely postponed because of “the current unfavourable investment climate”.
In the case’s latest twist, Abramovich reportedly “withdrew” his visa application late this week, although sources close to the club insist the situation will have no bearing on day-to-day operations. It cannot be denied that it comes as an unwelcome distraction at the end of a disappointing campaign for the Blues, however, The quicker the visa situation with Roman Abramovich is resolved, the quicker Chelsea can look towards the coming season.