The British government has issued a special licence to allow the $5 billion sale of Chelsea by Roman Abramovich to the consortium led by Todd Boehly.
Having secured the Premier League’s approval on Tuesday afternoon the green light from the government followed soon after for Boehly and Clearlake Capital, who have now cleared the final obstacle in becoming Chelsea’s new owners.
“Late last night the UK Government reached a position where we could issue a license that permits the sale of Chelsea Football Club,” said a statement. “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.”
Abramovich had put the club up for sale at the start of March just before he was sanctioned by the government due to his links with Russian president Vladimir Putin. After nearly 20 years where money was often no object at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea owed their outgoing owner nearly $2 billion but he said he would not call in those debts. Instead his proceeds will go into a foundation to help victims of the war in Ukraine.
“Following extensive work, we are now satisfied that the full proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or any other sanctioned individual,” said the government. “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 licenses required and we thank them for all their cooperation.”
The proceeds of the sale are expected to be deposited in a frozen bank account controlled by the government. To formalize the sale, the special license under which Chelsea have been operated must be amended, a task that is expected to be finalized in the coming days.
The group headed by Los Angeles Dodgers owner Todd Boehly, which won a competitive tender process that included several other US sports franchise owners, have committed to investing in the renovation of Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium and will also look to provide men’s head coach Thomas Tuchel with the financial backing to add to a squad that is set to lose two key defenders, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. Both are out of contract at the end of next month; due to the licence imposed on them the Blues were unable to negotiate new terms with either player, both of whom will depart for Spain.
Mason Mount and Reece James are both expected to be offered improved terms that reflect their growing importance in Chelsea’s plans.