Todd Boehly’s bid for Chelsea Football Club has been approved by the government. A report made public on Tuesday by the Premier League said the consortium led by the American had passed its owners’ and directors’ test.
It finally looks like Boehly will be given the keys to Stamford Bridge and replace Roman Abramovich as the new owner.
“Late last night the UK government reached a position where we could issue a licence that permits the sale of Chelsea Football Club,” a statement from Whitehall read. Chelsea has been operating under a special government licence which expires on May 31.
The statement added, “Following the sanctioning of Roman Abramovich, the government has worked hard to ensure Chelsea Football Club has been able to continue to play football. But we have always been clear that the long-term future of the club could only be secured under a new owner.
“Following extensive work, we are now satisfied that the full proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or any other sanctioned individual. We will now begin the process of ensuring the proceeds of the sale are used for humanitarian causes in Ukraine, supporting victims of the war.
“The steps today will secure the future of this important cultural asset and protect fans and the wider football community. We have been in discussions with relevant international partners for necessary licences required and we thank them for all their cooperation.”
Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Boehly’s 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 2. It brings to an end the Russian billionaire’s ownership of 19 years.
Boehly will become Chelsea’s controlling owner once the takeover is complete, although California investment firm Clearlake Capital will assume the majority shareholding. 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 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his links to Vladimir Putin.
The sale of the club will allow manager Thomas Tuchel to make plans in the transfer market this summer Chelsea were put under a strict government operating licence, with all of Abramovich’s other UK assets frozen.
Once the new bosses are in place, the Blues will be able to return to business as usual – and there will be no time to lose in re-configuring the playing squad. Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich has hoped for some time to have been able to satisfy government expectations on how to handle his £1.5 billion ($1.96) billion 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. Chelsea finished the season in third place, meaning they will be in the Champions League next season.
- A TalkSport report