July 5, 2022

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Chelsea sale in limbo pending UK government approval

Chelsea sale in limbo pending UK government approval

The British government has not yet approved the sale of Premier League club Chelsea to a consortium of Los Angeles Dodgers, part-owner, Todd Boehle.

Outgoing Russian owner Roman Abramovich is not allowed to profit from the proceeds of the sale since he was sanctioned and his assets were frozen due to his ties to President Vladimir Putin after the invasion of Ukraine.

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An update to the license that allows Chelsea to continue operating as a business is required by the government to approve the takeover. The club was put up for sale in March and a swift process ended with the Boehly Group choosing a new owner on May 6.

The license expires on May 31, and there is a risk to the club’s ability to continue operating if no agreement is reached on the sale structure.

Chelsea issued a statement this month from an unnamed Abramovich spokesperson, saying he would not seek repayment of 1.6 billion pounds ($2 billion) in loans. The government still wants to put that proceeds into a frozen account before making sure it eventually goes to charity.

Abramovich said he hoped the proceeds from the sale would go to 2.5 billion pounds ($3.1 billion) to charity, having previously said they would go to help victims of the war in Ukraine. The government wants assurances that Abramovich will have no say in choosing the institution.

The lack of announcement of the new ownership comes as Chelsea’s season draws to a close without the Men’s Domestic Cup after losing the FA Cup final to Liverpool on Saturday. The women’s team beat Manchester City in the FA Cup Final on Sunday.

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Abramovich was forced to empty the club after it was targeted in the British government’s campaign against wealthy Russians with ties to Putin in February. Abramovich did not condemn the war.

After rejecting several competing bids, Chelsea agreed to a deal with a consortium that includes Boehly along with Dodgers principal owner Mark Walter and Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and funding from private equity firm Clearlake Capital.