Gary Neville hopes that the Chelsea situation serves as a wake-up call to football regarding where the money in the game is coming from. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government after Russia invaded Ukraine. Abramovich is a close friend of Vladimir Putin who ordered the invasion. Chelsea has been told that they cannot sell any tickets for the games as well as any merchandise apart from those already bought by season ticket holders.
“I agree with what Jamie said, there’s no way Chelsea can go bust,” Gary Neville said about the situation at Chelsea. “The government is going to have to ease the restrictions if needs be. I can’t see how a £3 billion sale can go through in the next 15, 16 days, which is apparently the amount of time Chelsea has. I think the government knows that Chelsea Football Club, with hundreds of years of history, a fanbase behind them, an important part of the local community, cannot go bust. They’re going to have to make sure that a sale goes through and that a new owner is found and obviously whatever happens with the proceeds is up to the government.”
“But it’s a massive wake-up call, these last few weeks, for football, and a massive wake-up call for me and my historical position on new money coming into English football,” he added. “It’s improved the competitive landscape enormously over the last 20 years. I’m a fan of the traditional elite – Arsenal, Manchester United, and Liverpool – but I welcomed Jack Walker’s money at Blackburn and Roman Abramovich’s money at Chelsea, and the fact Manchester City has come in and challenged the elite. We’ve got an unbelievable Premier League with great football teams and we have benefitted from that. Globally, the Premier League is seen as a model everywhere.”