Roman Abramovich is confident he will be able to attend Chelsea fixtures this season despite his ongoing visa issues with the British government.
Abramovich withdrew an application for a British visa at the start of June following reported delays in his application.
His previous tier-1 visa, which allows people who invest more than £2m in the British economy to stay for 40 months, had been granted before more stringent regulations were introduced in April 2015.
The British government launched a crackdown on wealthy investors coming to the UK after the Salisbury poisoning, as part of measures that have increased tensions between Britain and the Russian government.
Abroamovich, who does not currently intend to re-apply for a British visa, instead secured an Israeli passport. Israeli citizens may visit the UK as a visitor for a ‘maximum period of six months’ but are required to obtain a UK visa if they want to ‘live, work or study’ in the UK.
The definition of the word ‘work’ is therefore crucial to Abramovich’s cause and raised questions as to how he would continue to manage his affairs at Chelsea.
Abramovich did, for example, miss the FA Cup final victory over Manchester United at Wembley amid the uncertainty and the club’s plans for the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge were also put on hold due to an ‘unfavourable investment climate.’
However, under his Israeli citizenship, Abramovich is said to be confident he can run the club as usual.
As he does not have a job title at Chelsea, is not a member of the club’s board and does not take a salary from the club beyond dividends, he would not consider himself to be ‘working’ if he attends meetings or watches games on the premises of the club that he owns.
As such, Chelsea supporters can expect to see him in the stands at Stamford Bridge this season, although he is not expected at the first home game of the season against Arsenal this weekend as he is usually on holiday in France at this time of year.
The Home Office declined to comment.