© Reuters. File photo: Football – English Premier League – Chelsea – Watford – Stamford Bridge, London, Britain – May 22, 2022 General view of the stadium before the match.
LONDON (Reuters) – The Premier League club announced on Monday that Roman Abramovich has completed the sale of Chelsea and its related companies to an investment group led by Todd Boehle and Clearlake Capital, ending a three-month sale of the club.
The consortium, which won the bid for the London club earlier this month, got approval for the sale from the Premier League and the UK government last week. A final agreement was reached on Saturday.
Russian owner Abramovich put the club up for sale in early March after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow described as a “special military operation”. Sanctions against Abramovich also complicated the sale.
“In selling the club, Mr. Abramovich stipulated that the new owner be a good agent of the club, that the net proceeds from the sale must be donated to charities and not require repayment of loans to subsidiaries of the club,” Chelsea said in a statement.
The sale also needed the green light from the Portuguese government after Abramovich became a citizen of the country last year and is also subject to European Union sanctions.
Last week the Portuguese government issued a humanitarian waiver based on the UK government’s guarantee that proceeds from the sale would not benefit Abramovich.
“The club is now no longer subject to the sanctions imposed on Roman Abramovich, the person who enabled Putin’s brutal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine,” a British government spokesman said.
“Chelsea’s long-term future is now secure and firm commitments have been secured ensuring that sanctioned individuals cannot profit financially from the sale. The government remains in control to ensure this is the case.”
Abramovich denied having close ties with Putin.
UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said on Twitter (NYSE): https://twitter.com/HuddlestonNigel/status/1531291493079650305 that completing the sale would be a “huge relief” to Chelsea fans.
Chelsea has operated under a special license issued by the UK government since Abramovich’s assets were frozen in March and is due to expire on May 31.
Chelsea said they had received more than 250 inquiries from potential buyers, adding that 32 non-disclosure agreements had been reached with the parties involved.
The club eventually received 12 credible bids which were reduced to four before the Boehly-Clearlake Consortium was selected as the preferred bidder. The consortium also includes Swiss business magnate Hansgeorg Weiss and Mark Walter.
Abramovich bought the club in 2003 for 140 million pounds ($177.21 million). His investment led to the most successful era in their history as they won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League twice.
“We are all in”
The West London club said Boehle and Klerlake would share joint control and equal leadership of the club. Buhli, who co-owns the Los Angeles Dodgers, became president of the holding company.
“We are honored to become the new trustees of Chelsea Football Club. We are 100% in every match,” Buhli said.
“Our vision as owners is clear: we want to make the fans proud. Alongside our commitment to developing the youth team and attracting the best talent, our business plan is to invest in the club for the long term and build on that of Chelsea.” Fabulous success story.
“I would like to personally thank ministers and officials in the UK government and the Premier League for all their work to make this happen.”
The completion of the sale allows Chelsea to resume transfer activity and extend the contracts of its players, which was previously forbidden under the sanctions imposed.
Chelsea finished third in the recently concluded Premier League season. They lost to Liverpool on penalties in the FA Cup and League Cup finals and were eliminated from the European Champions League by champions Real Madrid in the quarter-finals.
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