Chelsea sale gets green light from UK government after Premier League approval – Reuters

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Completing the purchase was a lengthy process due to government concerns about Abramovich’s ability to profit from the sale.

American businessman Todd Boehly, co-owner of the LA Dodgers, leads the consortium that bought Premier League club Chelsea. PA

The British government announced on Wednesday that it had approved Todd Boehly’s £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) purchase of Chelsea football club from sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.

The Premier League club was put on the market in early March, days before Abramovich was sanctioned by Britain following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The billionaire, also the target of European Union sanctions, has been described by the British government as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

Chelsea operated under the terms of a strict government license which expires on May 31, meaning they were unable to renew existing player contracts and faced a transfer ban.

Completing the takeover was a long process due to concerns that Abramovich could profit from the sale of the London club.

But the Premier League gave the go-ahead on Tuesday night and hours later ministers said they would clear Chelsea’s sale.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, whose dossier includes sport, tweeted: “Given the sanctions we have imposed on those linked to Putin and the bloody invasion of Ukraine, the long term future of the club can only be insured by a new owner.

“We are confident that the proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or other sanctioned persons.”

A consortium led by baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Boehly beat competition to strike a record deal to buy the club earlier this month.

At one point, it seemed on the verge of collapse, fearing that profits would go to good causes, as promised by outgoing owner Abramovich.

The Russian, who bought Chelsea in 2003, has denied seeking repayment of his £1.5billion loan from the club once the sale was completed.

The government said in its statement that it was confident the “total proceeds” of the sale would not benefit Abramovich or anyone else sanctioned.

“We will now begin the process to ensure that the proceeds from the sale are used for humanitarian causes in Ukraine, supporting war victims,” ​​he added.

Of the total investment, £2.5 billion will be deposited in a frozen UK bank account to be donated to a charitable foundation for the benefit of war victims in Ukraine.

The new owners will commit £1.75billion in additional investment “for the benefit of the club”.

Transfer budget

Former Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon told the BBC that the end of the saga would be a “complete relief” for everyone connected with the club.

“We have a very short transfer window and plans will have been made before then,” he said.

“They’ve already lost players because they couldn’t re-sign them, so I think everyone – the team and the management – will be relieved to be able to continue the work they are employed for.”

Thomas Tuchel’s side, who won the Champions League last season, finished third in the Premier League – 19 points behind champions Manchester City – and were beaten by Liverpool in the FA Cup and Champions League final. Ligue’s cup.

The German manager is set to lose key defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers to Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Tuchel, in an interview on Chelsea’s website before the sale was confirmed, said the club were operating at a “huge disadvantage” and would need to be nimble in the transfer market.

On Wednesday, reports emerged that the former Paris Saint-Germain boss would be handed a transfer prize pool of £200million.

Chelsea have been transformed since Abramovich bought them in 2003 for just £140m, winning 19 major trophies during his 19-year reign, including five Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs.

Boehly also has a track record of athletic success with the Dodgers.

Thanks to heavy investments in players, they’ve made the MLB (Major League Baseball) playoffs every season for the past nine years and won their first World Series in 32 years in 2020.

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