Roman Abramovich has bid goodbye to Chelsea as the consortium led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital formally takes control of the club.
The buyout, sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has rumbled on since March. Now, 88 days after Abramovich officially put the Blues up for sale, US billionaire Boehly is poised to finally take over at the west London club on Monday.
Now, in a statement carried on Chelsea’s official website, Abramovich has declared: “It has been nearly three months since I announced my intention to sell Chelsea FC. During this time, the team have worked hard to find the right custodian for Chelsea FC that would be best positioned to successfully lead the Club into its next chapter.
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“The ownership of this Club comes with great responsibility. Since I came to Chelsea nearly twenty years ago, I have witnessed first-hand what this Club can achieve. My goal has been to ensure that the next owner has a mindset that will enable success for the Men’s and Women’s team, as well as the will and drive to continue developing other key aspects of the Club, such as the Academy and the vital work of Chelsea Foundation.
“I am pleased this search has now come to a successful conclusion. As I hand over Chelsea to its new custodians, I would like to wish them the best of success, both on and off the pitch. It has been an honour of a lifetime to be a part of this Club – I would like to thank all the Club’s past and current players, staff, and of course fans for these incredible years.
“I am proud that as a result of our joint successes, millions of people will now benefit from the new charitable foundation which is being established. This is the legacy which we have created together. Thank you. Roman.”
The proceeds of Chelsea’s sale – expected to be £2.5bn – will be frozen in a UK bank account on completion of the sale. The UK Government will then need to issue a further licence to allow those funds to be diverted to a new charitable foundation, to aid victims of the war in Ukraine.
Abramovich bought the club from Ken Bates in June 2003 and led them into a trophy-laden era which saw them crowned Premier League champions five times, Champions League winners twice and Europa League winners twice. The Russian-Israeli billionaire changed the face of English football with his arrival.
But the future of the club was plunged into question after Russian president Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine earlier this year. That saw Abramovich put the club up for sale on March 2, before being sanctioned by the UK government on March 10, as a chaotic period ensue at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea’s sale has required UK Government, European Union and Portuguese Government approval due to the sanctions imposed on Abramovich.
A short statement on Chelsea’s website had earlier confirmed the agreement for the club’s sale to finally be completed. It read: “Chelsea confirm the agreement to sell the club to the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Capital consortium with the transaction expected to be completed on Monday.”
The news was welcomed by Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, who have held positive talks with Boehly in recent weeks. The fans group said in a statement: “The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust would like to congratulate the consortium led by Todd Boehly on the takeover of Chelsea FC.
“We wish you every success as the custodian of our club and look forward to a long, constructive and mutually beneficial relationship between you and Chelsea supporters. The CST has been very encouraged by the interactions we have had with Mr Boehly and his team over recent months, but the hard work starts now. It is now time to deliver both on and off the pitch in building a successful, inclusive and forward-thinking club with supporters at the forefront.”