After a 12-week saga and with four days left before the expiration of the government’s operating licence, the takeover of Chelsea Football Club has been agreed by a group led by US businessman Todd Boehly and is expected to be completed on Monday.
On Tuesday night, the Premier League and government gave the go ahead for the Boehly group, which will be predominantly financed by the Clearlake Capital investment firm, to replace sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.
Authorities in Portugal, where Abramovich holds citizenship, gave the green light early Thursday morning and now the club have finally confirmed that the £4.25billlion deal has been finalised.
A statement on the club’s official website reads: “Chelsea Football Club can confirm that a final and definitive agreement was entered into last night to sell the Club to the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Capital consortium. It is expected that the transaction will be completed on Monday. The Club will update further at that time.”
At 7am on Wednesday the government said they had received concrete assurances that Abramovich does not stand to gain financially from a deal that will cost an initial £2.5bn with a further £1.75bn of investment in the club’s infrastructure built in. The proceeds from the sale will be used to support victims of the war in Ukraine.
“Late last night the UK Government reached a position where we could issue a licence that permits the sale of Chelsea Football Club,” a statement read. “Following the sanctioning of Roman Abramovich, the Government has worked hard to ensure Chelsea Football Club has been able to continue to play football.
“But we have always been clear that the long-term future of the club could only be secured under a new owner. Following extensive work, we are now satisfied that the full proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or any other sanctioned individual.
“We will now begin the process of ensuring the proceeds of the sale are used for humanitarian causes in Ukraine, supporting victims of the war. The steps today will secure the future of this important cultural asset and protect fans and the wider football community. We have been in discussions with relevant international partners for necessary licences required and we thank them for all their cooperation.”
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That came after the Premier League announced that they had “applied the Owners’ and Directors’ Test (OADT) to all prospective directors, and undertaken the necessary due diligence” and were satisifed to allow the takeover.
Chelsea were put up for sale by Abramovich on March 2 – a week before he was sanctioned by the UK government for allegedly having ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Due to the nature of the sanctions, Chelsea have been operating under a special license designed to severely limit their revenue streams and stop Abramovich from profiting from his asset.
Boehly was announced as the preferred bidder at the beginning of May having been first named as one of three shortlisted parties alongside consortia fronted by Sir Martin Broughton and Steve Pagliuca. He has been present at several games at Stamford Bridge and paid a visit to the club’s training ground in Cobham a fortnight ago to meet staff.
The new owners are expected to provide head coach Thomas Tuchel with up to £200m to spend in this summer’s transfer window as they aim to make up ground on Liverpool and Manchester City. A defensive rebuild is required with Toni Rudiger leaving for Real Madrid, Andreas Christensen moving on and doubts around the future of veteran left back Marcos Alonso. New contracts for several key players, including Mason Mount, are also high on the priority list.