Chelsea Football Club will be under new ownership from Monday after the consortium led by US billionaire Todd Boehly reached a definitive agreement to complete the £4.25billion takeover of Roman Abramovich.
A statement released by the club read: “Chelsea Football Club can confirm that a final and definitive agreement was reached last night to sell the club to the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Capital consortium. The transaction is expected to close on Monday. The club will continue to update at this time.”
In early March, and just a week after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Abramovich made the surprising decision to put Chelsea up for sale after 19 years as owner. Eight days later he was sanctioned by the British government, which granted Chelsea a special license to continue day-to-day operations.
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This was due to expire on May 31 – and so began a race against time to complete the Chelsea takeover. The sale of the club was handled by US merchant bank The Raine Group, which selected a number of potential bidders from a shortlist of four consortia.
The Boehly bid, which was backed by investment firm Clearlake Capital, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and Mark Walter, was always viewed as a strong contender by those involved in the litigation. That they were willing to accept Abramovich’s multiple demands to protect the club’s immediate future was also hugely important.
However, approval from the Premier League and the UK government was required. And the latter wanted to ensure Abramovich didn’t benefit from the sale of the club, which have won 19 trophies in the 19 years since the Russian arrived at Stamford Bridge.
On Tuesday night it was confirmed that members of the Boehly consortium had passed the Premier League owners and directors test and on Wednesday morning the UK government released a statement approving the sale.
“After extensive work, we are now satisfied that all proceeds from the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or any other sanctioned person,” the statement said. “We will now start the process to ensure that the proceeds from the sale are used for humanitarian purposes in Ukraine to support victims of the war.
“Today’s steps will secure the future of this important cultural asset and protect fans and the wider football community. We have held discussions with relevant international partners regarding the required licenses and thank them for all their cooperation.”
One of the first tasks on Boehly’s agenda will be to support the men’s national team head coach Thomas Tuchel with investments in the German’s squad. The summer transfer window opens in just over two weeks and Chelsea need replacements for outgoing defenders Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen. Other positions also need to be strengthened.
“We have to be quick and clever,” said the Chelsea manager. “We’re at a huge disadvantage at the moment – but that’s not decisive yet. There are no excuses, it’s just the situation we’re in and we have to be as quick as possible. Now of course, it’s unsatisfactory because our hands are tied and we can’t act as we want.
“We have clear ideas about the profiles and characteristics of these players. But it’s not like we put a name on the list and then get the player. We have to convince the player, talk to his clubs and convince ourselves.” the player [we need]. So there’s usually a lot of work and it will be the same to be competitive next season.”