Putin 'can’t get away with this' says ex-Premier League club owner as he welcomes oligarch sanctions
'I can't see that there's any threat to Chelsea Football Club,' Steve Morgan tells ITV News Sports Producer Dan Salisbury-Jones
A former Premier League club owner, who is funding 1,000 Ukrainian refugees to enter the UK, has welcomed the government’s sanctions on oligarchs like Roman Abramovich.
Steve Morgan, the former Liverpool shareholder and owner of Wolverhampton Wanderers, says the west must hit those who surround Russian President Vladimir Putin “as hard as we possibly can.”
He told ITV News: “I welcome any response to attack people around Putin. They can’t get away with this bullying and horrendous waste of life.”
Whilst he couldn’t talk specifically about Roman Abramovich, Morgan is unconcerned about the future of Russian’s club Chelsea – which is now one of Abramovich's frozen assets.
“I don’t think the future of Chelsea is in doubt, the ownership maybe, but I don’t think the football club is in doubt at all," he said.
"It’s not the fault of everybody at the football club and I cannot see that there’s any threat to Chelsea Football Club at all.”
He also defended the decision to allow Abramovich to operate for so long in the Premier League.
“Until two weeks ago, Russia hadn’t overstepped the line, so it’s very difficult to take sanctions ahead of an action," said Morgan.
“I’m pleased with the way the western world has unified to hit Putin, short of war, to hit Putin as hard as we possibly can.”
But while praising the sanctions, he was also scathing about the UK government’s response to the refugee crisis.
'When you look at the other countries in Europe, they’re doing a lot more. We need to do a lot more'
Morgan, who made his millions through his housebuilding firm Redrow, said: “I think our response is quite pathetic.
“I, like every other person in the UK, is absolutely sickened to death of what we’ve seen coming across on the news from Ukraine... Over two million [people] trying to escape the fighting and the bullying of Putin’s troops," he added.
“I’m not happy with the government’s response to the refugee crisis. When you look at the other countries in Europe, they’re doing a lot more. We need to do a lot more.”
“We’re happy to pay to bring them across and to support them for as long as it takes, certainly at least six months anyway when they’re here and I’ve no idea what a thousand refugees will cost us," continued Morgan.
"I know it’ll be into millions but it doesn’t matter, we’ve got to help.
“We’ve got to stop the agony of these people, at least get them to the UK safely where they’ve got other relatives. It has to be done and we have to do it now.”
On Thursday, the government announced plans to streamline the process so Ukrainian refugees with family in the UK will only require a passport to enter. This will come into force from Tuesday.