Lawyers for Roman Abramovich and the UK government still in talks over Chelsea sale

The two parties are discussing how to handle the Stamford Bridge club’s £1.5 billion debt to the Chelsea owner.
Lawyers for Roman Abramovich and the UK government still in talks over Chelsea sale

By Nick Purewal, PA

Roman Abramovich remains hopeful of striking a legal resolution to usher through the Chelsea sale but the UK government is yet to agree any terms, the PA news agency understands.

Lawyers for Abramovich and the UK government are understood to remain in talks on how to handle the Stamford Bridge club’s £1.5 billion debt to the Chelsea owner.

Abramovich has wanted to write off that debt, but UK government sanctions blocked that process amid frozen accounts.

Chelsea could soon have new owners
Chelsea could soon have new owners (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Downing Street chiefs are understood to have raised repeated concerns that Abramovich would renege on his pledge to waive those loans, despite detailed assurances and planning from the Chelsea owner.

The government is understood to be seeking legally binding assurances that Abramovich will in no way benefit from Chelsea’s sale.

Abramovich’s lawyers are understood to be confident that their latest proposals will prove acceptable to Downing Street.

Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly struck a purchase agreement to buy Chelsea for £4.25 billion in the early hours of May 7th, having won the ultra-competitive and uniquely public race.

US magnate Boehly met Chelsea managers Thomas Tuchel and Emma Hayes last week and will now hope to complete the takeover with little further delay.

The Premier League must give the final sign-off on Boehly’s consortium through owners’ and directors’ tests, before the government issues a new licence to allow the sale to complete.

Government approval for the sale should also give the green light for Abramovich’s plan for the proceeds to be donated to a new charitable foundation.

Former UNICEF UK executive director Mike Penrose has been tasked to set up the foundation to provide humanitarian aid, starting with victims of the war in Ukraine.

Penrose insisted the foundation could “change the face of humanitarian aid”, with some £2.5 billion expected to be donated to the independent charitable body.

Abramovich officially put Chelsea up for sale in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Chelsea v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Premier League – Stamford Bridge
Todd Boehly, right, with Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, left (Adam Davy/PA)

The 55-year-old was then sanctioned by the UK government on March 10th, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his links to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Chelsea’s temporary government licence expires on May 31st, with the date acting as a hard deadline for the sale.

The expected resolution between Abramovich and the UK government should mean that deadline remains on course to be met.

Eldridge Industries co-founder Boehly will become controlling owner of Chelsea once his takeover is complete.

Clearlake Capital will take the majority shareholding in the new Chelsea structure, with the California investment firm’s co-founder Behdad Eghbali due to work closely with Boehly on big financial decisions at the Blues.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more