By Nick Purewal, PA
UK government sources believe the bid to push Chelsea’s sale through on Tuesday night could “go down to the wire”.
Downing Street officials are understood to be hopeful of imminently issuing the new licence for Todd Boehly to complete his £4.25 billion Chelsea takeover.
Those involved in the sale at Whitehall want to sign it off before end of play on Tuesday, to ensure the club can meet all deadlines for registration for next season’s competitions.
The Premier League confirmed Boehly and his consortium partners have passed the organisation’s owners’ and directors’ tests and that just leaves government ratification as the final takeover step.
“We now believe everyone will be ready to issue the necessary licences,” said a UK government source.
“The last remaining hurdle boils down to a number of final technical details that are being discussed with the club. It’s going to go down to the wire.”
Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly has already agreed the record sports franchise purchase of the Blues, with Abramovich’s ownership tenure poised to end after 19 years.
Boehly will become Chelsea’s controlling owner once the takeover is complete, though California investment firm Clearlake Capital will assume the majority shareholding.
Completion of the takeover will bring to an end a 12-week saga that was sparked by Abramovich officially putting the Blues up for sale on March 2nd.
Chelsea’s players and staff found out the club was being sold at Kenilworth Road, amid final preparations for their FA Cup fifth-round clash at Luton Town.
The Blues prevailed 3-2 despite the obvious distractions, as Abramovich released a statement pledging to write off the club’s debt and set up a foundation to aid victims of the war in Ukraine.
Abramovich was then sanctioned by the UK government on March 10th, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his links to Vladimir Putin.
Chelsea were put under a strict government operating licence, with all of Abramovich’s other UK assets frozen.
Once Boehly’s takeover is complete the Blues will be able to return to business as usual – and there will be no time to lose in reconfiguring the playing squad.
The #PL Board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club
The purchase remains subject to the U.K. Government issuing the required sale licence and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction
Full statement: https://t.co/SvGhRtoXmD pic.twitter.com/N7S8jitlPy
— Premier League Communications (@PLComms) May 24, 2022
The Premier League approved Boehly’s takeover on Tuesday evening, in a statement that read: “The Premier League Board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Consortium.
“The purchase remains subject to the Government issuing the required sale licence and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction.”
UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson earlier confirmed the government had launched talks with “international partners” to help push the Chelsea sale across the line.
Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich has hoped for some time to have been able to satisfy Government expectations on how to handle his £1.5billion loan to Chelsea.
The 55-year-old is thought to be confident those demands have been reached, which would finally pave the way for Downing Street to sign off on the sale.
The Premier League statement added: “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, L.P., 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.”