ROMAN ABRAMOVICH could be detained and deported from the UK if he uses his new Israeli passport to regularly enter the country.
The billionaire Chelsea owner’s investor’s visa was not renewed after it expired in April but he acquired Israeli citizenship this month to allow him into the UK.
GETTY IMAGES – GETTY
Abramovich has seen Chelsea win five Premier League titles and the 2012 Champions League since buying them 15 years ago
The new passport allows Abramovich, 51, to visit the UK on business for up to six months per trip.
But government officials told the Times that he may not come and go when he pleases.
UK immigration law prevents business visitors from living “in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits”.
This could have a significant impact on Abramovich’s running of Chelsea.
CORBIS – GETTY
Abramovich with son Arkadiy at Stamford Bridge
Abramovich has already called off the club’s proposed new £1billion stadium development, citing issues over cost-efficiency for a ground that would have 18,000 more seats than Stamford Bridge.
The Chelsea hierarchy were also concerned about relocation costs during what would have been a four-year stint without a stadium, with suggested replacement Wembley now the subject of a £900million bid from Shahid Khan.
Abramovich had been living in Jersey since last year – before his visa expired – making him the richest man in the tax-free Channel Islands, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
The same list posted his wealth at £9.3billion in May, a gain of £1.3billion from 2017.
AFP – GETTY
4 The Chelsea owner, pictured at Jerusalem’s Western Wall in 2006, is now an Israeli citizen
He now lives in Tel-Aviv on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, and will be limited by now being regarded as a business visitor rather than an investor.
Abramovich’s role at the club, regularly involved in the hiring and firing of Chelsea managers, will be curbed as he is prevented from “doing work for an organisation or business in the UK,” according to paragraph V 4.5 of the immigration rules
A regular visitor to Stamford Bridge to watch his team play, he does not oversee any day-to-day operations at the club, with control given to director Marina Granovskaia.
Granovskaia was formerly the oil tycoon’s PA, and assumed her current role in 2014.
Granovskaia, bottom right, was listed as ‘the most powerful woman in football’ by the Times when appointed director in 2014
The news may restrict Abramovich’s role in the future of current first-team boss Antonio Conte, who sits in a precarious position after finishing fifth in the Premier League.
The Blues’ FA Cup win, sealed with an Eden Hazard penalty against Manchester United and two-time Abramovich hire Jose Mourinho, may not be enough to save Conte’s job.
The Italian’s frequent complaints over a lack of transfer funds, along with the poor debut seasons of summer signings Alvaro Morata and Tiemoue Bakayoko, could spell the end for the man who took Chelsea to a fifth Premier League title in 2017.
The Blues have been linked to ex-Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, who quit this week just days after guiding Los Blancos to a third consecutive Champions League title.