The sale of Chelsea to a group spearheaded by American businessman Todd Boehly is in doubt because sanctioned owner Roman Abramovich is unwilling to accept certain terms of the sale imposed by the British government.
The government is demanding that the £2.6bn fee agreed at the beginning of the month is placed in a holding account until it is guaranteed it can go to a foundation to help victims of the war in Ukraine, as promised by Abramovich more than two months ago.
But the 55-year-old, who was sanctioned on March 10 because the government said that it had proof he has long held close links to Russia president Vladimir Putin, wants the £1.6bn he has loaned the club since buying it in 2003 sent to a company registed in Jersey called Camberley International Investments.
A government source told The Times: “There’s quite serious concern in government that the deal may fall apart and that Roman Abramovich is ultimately willing to let Chelsea go under.
“There’s alarm in government about the gap between what Abramovich has said he will do publicly and what he’s willing to commit to legally as part of the sale process. There are pressing deadlines this week, and if there isn’t a breakthrough, we’re quite concerned that the sale of Chelsea could be timed out by certain sporting deadlines.”
Less than a fortnight ago Abramovich's spokeswoman, using Chelsea's official website, said in a statement that "Mr Abramovich has not asked for any loan to be repaid to him - such suggestions are entirely false." Chelsea have until May 31 to compelte a takeover because that is when their special operating licence, allowing it to continue putting teams on the pitch among severe off-field restrictions, is set to expire. It could technically be extended but Nadine Dorries, the culture secretary, has previously indiciated that there is no apetite in Westminster for that to happen. "The clock is ticking," she said days before it was announced that the Boehly group had been put forward as prospective buyers.
Chelsea are 'confident' that Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital's takeover of the club will be completed in the coming week, according to a report.
A consortium led by LA Dodgers co-owner Boehly reached an agreement to purchase Chelsea FC earlier in May, and the deal is on schedule to be completed before the end of the month as anticipated.
That is despite a number of bumps in the road on the way to this point. There were question marks over the repayment of a £1.6bn loan owed by the club which current owner Roman Abramovich had planned to waive, and concerns were raised when the oligarch allegedly failed to provide assurances over the £2.5bn proceeds from the sale.
However, a legal resolution was found to the loan issue and the government has been given the reassurance it needs to approve the proposed takeover.
According to Ben Jacobs, Chelsea are 'confident' of confirming the takeover by midweek as the parties involved work to conclude a deal as soon as possible. There is no formal deadline before 31 May but the process is described as 'on track'.
Todd Boehly's £4.25billion Chelsea takeover is on the brink of going through after the Premier League formally announced he had passed its ownership checks.
However, a sale saga now stretching back almost two months, is not quite resolved as Roman Abramovich is still waiting for final approval on the sale from Portugal and Europe. The UK Government is now expected to announce imminently that ministers are now happy to press ahead with licensing the deal. But proceeds from the £2.5b sale will only start changing hands once the European Commission has rubber-stamped the agreement. European authorities are involved as Abramovich is also sanctioned there and has had a Portuguese passport since last year.
England's top tier, however, has now said it is happy for the sale to go through. "The Premier League Board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Consortium," a statement said.
"The purchase remains subject to the Government issuing the required sale licence and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction. The board has applied the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test (OADT) to all prospective Directors, and undertaken the necessary due diligence. The members of the Consortium purchasing the club are affiliates of the Clearlake Capital Group, LP, Todd Boehly, Hansjorg Wyss and Mark Walter. Chelsea FC will now work with the relevant Governments to secure the necessary licences to complete the takeover."
'Portugal will be determined in the application of our legal obligations' With talks going late into the evening between ministers and Europe, João Gomes Cravinho, the Portuguese Minister for Foreign Affairs, told Telegraph Sport he will follow a rigorous process.
“Regarding Chelsea, there is a fundamental point which we would like to highlight," he said. "Portugal applies sanctions that were enacted by the European Union. We do it rigorously, without exceptions. And this is how we apply sanctions, and this is how we will continue to apply sanctions.
"The British Government is studying the possibility of alienating what is currently owned by a sanctioned person. We are, obviously, in dialogue with the British Government and we are in dialogue with the European Commission, but we will be determined in the application of our legal obligations.”
Post by Football News on May 28, 2022 12:25:54 GMT
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.