News report

UK government opens talks with Roman Abramovich’s advisers over Chelsea sale

Government open talks with advisers to Roman Abramovich over sale of Chelsea – with Downing Street keen to move quickly after Russia sanction… but owner must agree to write off £1.5billion loans sterling without receiving a single penny!

  • US bank The Raine Group suspended the sale of Chelsea after Roman Abramovich was sanctioned on Thursday
  • The government sees a quick sale as the best outcome for Chelsea and their fans
  • Downing Street is ready to grant a special license to The Raine Group to complete the sale
  • Abramovich has changed his tactics several times since Russia invaded Ukraine two weeks ago

The government has opened negotiations with advisers to Roman Abramovich on the terms of the sale of Chelsea, which Downing Street wants to complete as soon as possible.

US bank The Raine Group suspended the sale after Abramovich was sanctioned on Thursday, but many bidders are ready to pay more than £2bn for the club, if the Russian agrees to terms dictated by the government.

The government sees a quick sale as the best outcome for Chelsea and their fans, but for that to happen Abramovich would have to agree to write off loans worth more than £1.5billion without receiving any proceeds.

The government is ready to grant a special license to The Raine Group to finalize the sale, although it will retain oversight of the process and is likely to ask that all money raised be donated to charities linked to Ukraine. .

Abramovich’s thinking is hard to discern as he has changed his tactics several times since Russia invaded Ukraine two weeks ago.

His initial plan to hand over management of the club to the Chelsea Foundation fell apart within 48 hours due to objections from trustees and the Charity Foundation, while his rare public statement in which he expressed his willingness to donate of the “net proceeds” from the sale to war victims has been vetoed by the government and the club is no longer for sale.

Abramovich has always denied being a close associate of Vladimir Putin and won damages in the High Court case last year after challenging the claim that Chelsea had asked him by the Russian president to win money. influence in the West, so he can consider accepting the government’s terms. sale as an admission of guilt.

His options are limited, however, as refusing to accept the government’s terms would condemn Chelsea to financial collapse and damage his legacy at a club he claims to cherish.

The government has opened negotiations with Roman Abramovich’s advisers over the terms of Chelsea’s sale

US bank The Raine Group suspended the sale after Russian billionaire Abramovich was sanctioned on Thursday

US bank The Raine Group suspended the sale after Russian billionaire Abramovich was sanctioned on Thursday

Abramovich would have to agree to write off loans over £1.5billion without receiving any proceeds for a sale to take place

Abramovich would have to agree to write off loans over £1.5billion without receiving any proceeds for a sale to take place

Abramovich has always denied being a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin

Abramovich has always denied being a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin

Chelsea are currently barred from seeking a sale due to the terms of the special license they operate under following Abramovich’s sanction, but the government have indicated they would be prepared to change the terms to allow a sale if it does. receives a request from the club. .

It’s unclear what timetable they’re working on, though the March 15 deadline set by the Raine Group for initial bids last week no longer seems relevant.

Although Chelsea were not placed in administration after Abramovich’s assets were frozen on Thursday, the sale process will likely resemble that carried out by clubs that have been. Job losses are seen as inevitable, especially as many Chelsea staff are no longer allowed to carry out their duties as the club’s merchandising and ticketing operations are closed.

Chelsea are continuing to negotiate with the government for exemptions to a number of restrictions imposed on them on Thursday, particularly relating to ticket sales, matchday operations and travel costs, but have not not yet made significant breakthroughs.

The government sees a quick sale as the best outcome for Chelsea and their fans

The government sees a quick sale as the best outcome for Chelsea and their fans

Chelsea may have to close certain areas of the pitch as they will not be able to pay all stewards and security personnel without changing the cap on matchday operating costs.

Chelsea may have to close certain areas of the pitch as they will not be able to pay all stewards and security personnel without changing the cap on matchday operating costs.

A government source said sports mail that with the sanction of the club owner, they are aware of ensuring that it is not “business as usual at Chelsea”, indicating that players and staff may have to deal with a less luxurious environment .

The most pressing short-term problem for Chelsea is persuading the government to raise the £500,000 cap on matchday running costs. Under ordinary circumstances, a matchday at Stamford Bridge costs closer to £1million, and without a change to the cap, Chelsea may have to close some areas of the pitch as they won’t be able to pay all the stewards. and security personnel necessary to operate safely. .

Chelsea are also investigating whether they can sell tickets to away fans for their next home game against Brentford on April 2, as under the terms of the existing license any new ticket sales are banned, an issue which will also impact future FA Cup and Champions League matches.

Travel arrangements for next week’s round of 16 second leg in Lille are no problem, however, as the charter flight and hotel booking have already been paid for.

The government has indicated a willingness to be flexible, particularly on issues involving fans, and is exploring various solutions to the ticketing issue, such as donating them or ensuring all proceeds from future sales go to charity .

Travel arrangements for next week's round of 16 second leg in Lille are no problem, however, as the charter flight and hotel booking have already been paid for.

Travel arrangements for next week’s round of 16 second leg in Lille are no problem, however, as the charter flight and hotel booking have already been paid for.

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