Roman Abramovich has been facing the repercussions of his supposedly close relationship with Vladimir Putin as he announced his intention to sell Chelsea Football Club last week.
The Russian-Israeli billionaire bought the club back in 2003 for £140 million and now intends to sell the London side for £3 billion.
The 55-year-old initially announced on Sunday 27 February that he would be handing over stewardship of the side and while he would still own the club, he would not be involved with any of the decision making.
Following recent criticism, not least from European and British politicians, Abramovich has now had to sell a side with whom he has risen almost from the bottom and seen win every Trophy possible for a Premier League side.
President Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine led to sanctions being imposed on Russian oligarchs living in Britain and Europe but it seemed Abramovich was escaping the punishments.
The business tycoon has often been referred to as a person ‘of interest’ due to his potential links with the Russian government, but it appears the time has now come for Abramovich and Britain to part ways.
In a statement released on Chelsea’s website on March 2 2022, Abramovich said: “I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the Club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners.
“...I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid…Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine.”
It has been reported that around 10 parties have since shown interest in purchasing Chelsea FC from the Russian billionaire - some more likely to progress than others.
Here are some of the names that could potentially buy the club of the current European champions...
Hansjorg Wyss & Todd Boehly
Hours before Roman Abramovich made his announcement, the Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss stated that he had been approached by the Russian oligarch.
Speaking to the Swiss newspaper Blick, Wyss said: “Like all other oligarchs, he is in a panic. Abramovich is trying to sell all his villas in England. He also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly. I and three other people received an offer on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich.”
It was reported last week that Wyss has teamed up with Todd Boehly - who tried to buy Chelsea three years ago - to lead a consortium as they look to purchase the Premier League club.
Boehly is the Co-Founder, CEO and Chairman of Elridge Industries - a private investment firm located in Connecticut.
The American businessman is thought to have a net worth of around £4.7 billion.
Ratcliffe is Britain’s richest man and reportedly among those interested in buying Chelsea. The 69-year-old already owns two football clubs: FC Lausanne-Sport in Switzerland and France’s Nice.
The billionaire has been linked with a move to buy Chelsea in the past as well as Manchester United. Ratcliffe grew up a United fan but is now an owner of a Stamford Bridge season ticket.
He is the owner of Ineos - the company which owns the British based cycling team formerly known as Team Sky - and he has heavily invested in rugby and F1 as well as setting up the Eliud Kipchoge challenge of running a marathon in under two hours.
Three years ago, Ratcliffe was asked about the possibility of buying the London side to which he replied: “I’m not going to say no, but I don’t know.
“I think we’ve dipped our toe into the water with football. It’s a very different sport. It’s quite a complicated sport and a complicated world, and we’ve dipped our toe in the water.”
This name has also come up as a potential possibility however unlikely it may seem. Before Abramovich made his announcement, the UFC star tweeted: “I wish to explore this, Chelsea” with a screenshot of a Whatsapp message that read: “Chelsea for sale, £3bn. Let’s buy it.”
McGregor is a United fan and previously showed interest in buying the Red Devils last year and took to social media to say: “Hey guys, I’m thinking about buying Manchester United! What do you think?”
The UFC icon is worth around £135 million.
New York Jets owner Robert “Woody” Johnson is the latest name to be linked with a Chelsea takeover, with ESPN claiming he is readying a bid to buy the club.
The 74-year-old is the heir to the Johnson & Jonson pharmaceutical fortune and is a hugely recognisable figure in the NFL following his $635 million purchase of the Jets in 2000.
Johnson is believed to be worth around $4.2 billion.
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