Chelsea Football Club will be under new ownership from Monday after the consortium led by the U.S. billionaire Todd Boehly reached a definitive agreement to complete its £4.25billion takeover from Roman Abramovich.
A statement released by the club reads: “Chelsea Football Club can confirm that a final and definitive agreement was entered into last night to sell the Club to the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Capital consortium. It is expected that the transaction will be completed on Monday. The Club will update further at that time.”
It was at the start of March, and just a week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, that Abramovich made the shock decision to put Chelsea up for sale after 19 years as owner. Eight days later, he was sanctioned by the UK government, which issued Chelsea a special licence to continue operating day-to-day.
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That was due to expire on May 31 – and so began a race against time for the takeover of Chelsea to be completed. The sale of the club was handled by the U.S. merchant bank The Raine Group, which whittled down a number of potential bidders to a four-consortium strong shortlist.
The Boehly bid, which was supported by investment firm Clearlake Capital, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and Mark Walter, was always viewed as a strong contender by those involved in the process. That they were willing to accept the varied demands set out by Abramovich to protect the club’s immediate future was also hugely important.
Approval was required from the Premier League and the UK Government, however. And the latter was intent on ensuring that Abramovich would not benefit from the sale of the club, which has won 19 trophies in the 19 years since the Russian arrived at Stamford Bridge.
It was confirmed on Tuesday evening that those within the Boehly consortium had passed the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test, and on Wednesday morning, the UK government released a statement that gave its approval to the sale going through.
“Following extensive work, we are now satisfied that the full proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or any other sanctioned individual,” a statement read. “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.”
One of the first tasks on Boehly’s agenda will be to support men’s first-team head coach Thomas Tuchel with investment in the German’s squad. The summer transfer window opens in a little more than two weeks’ time, and Chelsea requires replacements for departing defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. Other positions also need to be strengthened.
“We have to be fast and smart,” the Chelsea head coach said. “At the moment, we have a huge disadvantage – but that’s not decisive yet. There is no need to make excuses, it is just the situation we are in, and we have to be as quick as possible. Right now, of course, it’s unsatisfying because our hands are tied, and we cannot act as we want.
“We have clear ideas for the profiles and characteristics of these players. But it’s not like we put a name on the list, and then we get the player. We have to convince the player, speak to their clubs, and convince ourselves this is the player [we need]. So there is normally a lot of work, and it will be the same to be competitive next season.”