EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea tell fans they can’t even give out FREE tickets to a memorial service for club legend Peter Bonetti – because it’s still classed as a ‘transaction’ and is BANNED under government sanctions
- Chelsea have said they can’t give free tickets to a Peter Bonetti memorial service
- The event, due to honour iconic goalkeeper Bonetti, was set for Friday at 2pm
- But even giving away tickets for nothing is officially classed as a ‘transaction’
- The Blues are under government sanctions affecting owner Roman Abramovich
- The sanctions have come after Abramovich’s country Russia invaded Ukraine
Chelsea fans are now being told they are unable to attend a memorial service for club icon Peter Bonetti this week, even though tickets were due to be given away for free, under the terms of government sanctions.
The former goalkeeper, nicknamed ‘The Cat’ for his quick reflexes and elegant style of playing, made 729 appearances for the Blues and enjoys legendary status at the club.
A memorial for Bonetti, who died in April 2020 at the age of 78, is arranged for 2pm on Friday at Stamford Bridge. As it stands the memorial will go ahead, and those who acquired tickets prior to the sanctions imposed against owner Roman Abramovich last week are still able to attend.
However, Chelsea are now telling fans they are unable to give out any more free tickets to the event, and have deleted the page on their website announcing details of the memorial.
Staff have been instructed that offering tickets, even free ones, violates the strict financial sanctions on Abramovich as it is still classed as a ‘transaction’.
Chelsea have announced they cannot give away free tickets to a memorial service for club stalwart Peter Bonetti (pictured) as it violates the sanctions on owner Roman Abramovich
The service for ‘The Cat’ Bonetti is set to take place at 2pm on Friday at Stamford Bridge
But the club have removed the page on their website announcing details of the memorial
‘The Cat’ Bonetti’s statistics across his career
What Chelsea now can and can’t do after Abramovich sanctions
- Play all their matches, home and away; Pay the salaries of players and staff; Provide stewards, security and food and drink for fans; Receive TV broadcasting revenues; Club sale could potentially still go ahead, as long as Abramovich does not benefit financially.
- Sell tickets to home or away fans – only existing ticket holders will be allowed to attend; Agree any new transfers or contracts; Sell merchandise at the stadium or online; Spend more than £20,000 on away travel.
Abramovich has been stymied by the sanctions in the wake of his home country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian billionaire oligarch is one of the wealthy businessmen targeted to put pressure on Russian president Vladimir Putin, to whom Abramovich has denied he is closely linked.
The sanctions dictate that although Chelsea can continue operating and playing matches, Abramovich is not allowed to profit from his ownership of the club.
That means they cannot sell tickets, sell merchandise at the club shop, spend more than £20,000 on travel to away games, or, now, hand out tickets for Bonetti’s memorial.
However, existing season ticket holders are still able to attend forthcoming matches.
Manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed his side cannot fly up to Middlesbrough ahead of their FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday and therefore face a gruelling 10-hour round-trip coach journey.
The club have also been widely criticised for their ‘pathetic, threatening and bizarre’ bid to force the quarter-final tie behind closed doors for reasons of ‘sporting integrity’ as their fans are not allowed to attend.
Sportsmail reported exclusively on Monday that the two hundred investors interested in buying Chelsea must make cash offers, guarantee jobs of club staff and reveal their motive for wanting to buy the Blues by Friday’s deadline.
The parties interested in bidding for Chelsea have been advised to submit a detailed background report on all investors amid the growing anxieties over appropriate club ownership.
As it stands, property developer Nick Candy, a consortium led by LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly and a group led by British businessman Sir Martin Broughton are among those rated as the most serious contenders, while on Monday, news of a £2.7billion offer from Saudi Media Group emerged.
New York-based merchant bank Raine are advising Chelsea on the sale, while Sportsmail understands Blues director Marina Granovskaia is also offering interested groups guidance during the process.
Bidders will be asked to supply a proof of funds letter, a full list of advisers, a business plan and a timescale for completion to accompany offers. But, intriguingly, potential buyers are also being asked to provide their motivations behind the offer and a detailed report on the background of all the investors.
The Government want a quick and uncomplicated sale to prevent further disruption.