Football

Chelsea sale saga ends as Todd Boehly’s consortium completes purchase from Roman Abramovich

Roman Abramovich, former Chelsea owner, is seen on a Chelsea mural displayed by the fans inside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge on May 22

Roman Abramovich, former Chelsea owner, is seen on a Chelsea mural displayed by the fans inside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge on May 22 | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Roman Abramovich has completed the sale of Chelsea and related companies to an investment group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, the Premier League club said on Monday, ending a three-month process to sell the club.

The consortium, which won the bid to acquire the London side earlier this month, received approval from the Premier League and the British government last week for the sale to go ahead. A final agreement was reached on Saturday.

Russian owner Abramovich put the club up for sale in early March following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special military operation". Sanctions on Abramovich had also complicated the sale process.

"In selling the club, Mr. Abramovich stipulated that the new owner must be a good steward of the club, the net proceeds of the sale must be donated to charity, and that he would not seek the repayment of loans made to affiliates of the club," Chelsea said in a statement.

Chelsea free of sanctions

The sale also needed the green light from the Portugal government after Abramovich became a citizen of the country last year and is also under European Union sanctions.

Todd Boehly, (centre) in the Chelsea box during the Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge

Todd Boehly, (centre) in the Chelsea box during the Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge | Photo Credit: Getty Images

"The club is now no longer subject to the sanctions imposed on Roman Abramovich, an individual who has enabled (Russian president Vladimir) Putin's brutal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine," a British government spokesperson said.

"Chelsea's long-term future is now secured and binding commitments have been received which ensure sanctioned individuals cannot financially benefit from the sale. The government retains control to ensure that this is the case."

Abramovich has denied having close ties to Putin.

Timeline of Chelsea’s sale
Feb. 24: Roman Abramovich is named in Parliament as PM Boris Johnson unveiled sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine
Feb. 26: Abramovich gives trustees of Chelsea’s foundation stewardship of the club
Mar 2: Abramovich decides to sell Chelsea and promises to donate proceeds to victims of the war
Mar 10: Britain halts planned sale of Chelsea and imposes sanctions on Abramovich
Mar 11: Potential buyers for Chelsea told to approach the government
Mar 25: Todd Boehly’s group, the Ricketts family and Martin Broughton’s group added to the shortlist of bidders
Apr 21: Serena Williams and Lewis Hamilton join Broughton’s bid to buy Chelsea
May 7: Consortium led by Boehly wins bid to acquire Chelsea in a deal worth £4.25 billion
May 25: The British government issues a licence that permits the sale
May 30: Abramovich completes sale of Chelsea and related companies

‘Great relief’

British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said on Twitter that the completion of the sale would come as a "great relief" for Chelsea fans.

Chelsea had been operating under a special licence issued by the British government since Abramovich's assets were frozen in March and it was set to expire on May 31.

250 enquiries for purchase

Chelsea said they had received more than 250 enquiries from proposed purchasers, adding that 32 confidentiality agreements had been reached with interested parties.

The club eventually received 12 credible bids which were narrowed down to four before the Boehly-led consortium was chosen as the preferred bidder.

Abramovich bought the club in 2003 for a reported £140 million ($177.21 million), with his investment resulting in the most successful era in their history as they won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League twice.

Joint control for Boehly and Clearlake

The west London club said Boehly and Clearlake would share joint control and equal governance of the club. Boehly, who is part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, will serve as chairman of the holding company.

"We are honoured to become the new custodians of Chelsea Football Club. We're all in — 100% — every minute of every match," Boehly said.

"Our vision as owners is clear: we want to make the fans proud. Along with our commitment to developing the youth squad and acquiring the best talent, our plan of action is to invest in the club for the long-term and build on Chelsea's remarkable history of success.

"I personally want to thank ministers and officials in the British government, and the Premier League, for all their work in making this happen."

Green light for transfers and new contracts

The completion of the sale allows Chelsea to renew transfer activity and extend contracts with their players, which was prohibited as part of the sanctions imposed.

Chelsea finished third in the recently concluded Premier League season. They lost to Liverpool on penalties in the FA Cup and League Cup finals and were knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals by eventual champions Real Madrid.


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.

Printable version | May 31, 2022 1:28:12 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/chelsea-sale-saga-ends-as-todd-boehlys-consortium-completes-purchase-from-roman-abramovich/article65479454.ece