It has been a long and intense couple of months for Chelsea fans after owner Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale in March.
The Russian billionaire’s assets were frozen due to his links with Vladimir Putin amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
This meant that the Blues were temporarily unable to sell tickets, merchandise or indeed players, and haven’t been able to offer existing staff new contracts either.
And while there have been a number of consortiums linked with a deal to to buy Chelsea, it now appears the Blues are finally nearing a takeover.
Here are the latest updates...
Takeover agreed with Boehly
As per an official statement from Chelsea, a consortium led by LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly and backed by Clearlake Capital has signed a purchase agreement to buy the club.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, the Blues confirmed that terms had been agreed with the new ownership group led by Mr Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss.
It is understood that the proposal will now go before the UK government and the Premier League for approval, with an estimated completion date later this month.
Chelsea’s statement reads: “Chelsea Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club.
“Of the total investment being made, £2.5bn will be applied to purchase the shares in the Club and such proceeds will be deposited into a frozen UK bank account with the intention to donate 100% to charitable causes as confirmed by Roman Abramovich. UK Government approval will be required for the proceeds to be transferred from the frozen UK bank account.“In addition, the proposed new owners will commit £1.75bn in further investment for the benefit of the Club. This includes investments in Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team and Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation.“The sale is expected to complete in late May subject to all necessary regulatory approvals. More details will be provided at that time.”
Boehly is a Co-founder, CEO, Chairman and controlling member of Elrige Industries - a private investment firm in Greenwich, Connecticut - and also owns 20% of the Los Angeles Dodgers and is co-owner of the Los Angeles Sparks.
The 46-year-old has an estimated net worth of £4.72 billion.
Roman Abramovich makes statement
Boehly’s bid had been thrown into doubt earlier this week following rumours that Abramovich had stated that he wanted his £1.6 billion loan to be repaid.
However, the Russian subsequently made a statement flatly denying the claims.
A spokesperson for Abramovich wrote: “Firstly, Mr Abramovich’s intentions in relation to gifting the proceeds from the Chelsea sale to charity have not changed.
“Since the initial announcement, Mr Abramovich’s team has identified senior representatives from UN bodies and large global charitable organizations who have been tasked with forming a Foundation and setting out a plan for its activities. The lead independent expert has had conversations with Government representatives presenting the structure and initial plans.
“Mr Abramovich has not been involved in this work and it has been managed independently by experts with years of experience working in humanitarian organizations.
“Secondly, Mr Abramovich has not asked for any loan to be repaid to him – such suggestions are entirely false – as are suggestions that Mr Abramovich increased the price of the Club last minute. As part of Mr Abramovich’s objective to find a good custodian for Chelsea FC, he has however encouraged each bidder throughout this process to commit investing in the Club – including in the Academy, Women’s team, necessary redevelopment of the stadium as well as maintaining the work of Chelsea Foundation.
“Following sanctions and other restrictions imposed on Mr Abramovich by the UK since announcing that the Club would be sold, the loan has also become subject to EU sanctions, requiring additional approvals. That means that the funds will be frozen and subject to a legal procedure governed by authorities. These funds are still earmarked for the Foundation. The Government are aware of these restrictions as well as the legal implications.
“To be clear, Mr Abramovich has no access or control of these funds and will not have any access or control of these funds following the sale. Despite the changing circumstances since his initial announcement – he remains committed to finding a good custodian for Chelsea FC and making sure the proceeds go to good causes.”
What is Boehly’s net worth?
According to Forbes, Boehly’s net worth sits at around £3.6 billion.
His other sporting ventures include holding a 20% stake in American baseball team the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he is also a part-owner of basketball side the LA Sparks.