The UK Government has approved the £4.25bn takeover of Chelsea by a consortium led by the LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, paving the way for a new era at Stamford Bridge, with the proceeds going to humanitarian causes in Ukraine.
The Premier League last night gave its own go-ahead for the deal to go through, meaning only the final paperwork needs to be completed before the club is in the hands of Boehly, an American billionaire, ending 19 years under Roman Abramovich.
The Russian oligarch was sanctioned following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, because of his links with President Vladmir Putin. The Kremlin’s decision to enter into a war with its neighbour ultimately meant Abramovich needed to sell the club to keep it alive - but only if he would not profit from it. Chelsea have been operating under a special licence which kept the club running, but with big limitations.
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An agreement was reached earlier this month to sell Chelsea to Boehly, with Clearlake Capital, a Californian investment firm, to become the majority shareholders.
The Government is now satisfied that Abramovich will not make any money from the sale, ending almost three months of uncertainty over the future of the club. Once the takeover is complete, which will be imminent, head coach Thomas Tuchel and his team will be able to re-enter the transfer market and negotiate contracts with new and existing players.
“Following the sanctioning of Roman Abramovich, the Government has worked hard to ensure Chelsea Football Club has been able to continue to play football,” read a government statement.
“But we have always been clear that the long-term future of the club could only be secured under a new owner.
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“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."
Boehly has been at recent matches at Stamford Bridge and it is reported he will give Tuchel £200m to spend as part of a restructure of the squad, with free agents Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and possibly club captain Cesar Azpilicueta expected to leave.
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