Abramovich's sale of Chelsea approved by the UK government

Chelsea's 42,000-capacity Stamford Bridge home is in need of major redevelopment [File: Tony Obrien/Reuters]

The British government has announced that it has approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by American investor Todd Boehly from sanctioned Russian businessman Roman Abramovich.

The secretary of state for technology, culture, media, and sport, Nadine Dorries, stated that she had given a license authorizing the transaction on Tuesday evening, immediately after receiving Premier League permission.

"We are confident that the sale proceeds will not benefit Roman Abramovich or any other sanctioned individuals," Dorries tweeted.

"Given the sanctions we imposed on those associated with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the bloody invasion of Ukraine, the club's long-term viability can only be ensured by a new owner," she stated.

On May 7, a partnership led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Boehly agreed to pay a record £4.25bn ($5.3bn) to purchase the Premier League club from Abramovich.

The Premier League stated that its approval was contingent on the government's sale license and the successful conclusion of the transaction's final steps.

By Tuesday, officials desired that Chelsea meet all registration deadlines for upcoming football contests.

Abramovich placed Chelsea on the market at the beginning of March, just before being sanctioned by Britain for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Due to government worries regarding Abramovich's capacity to profit from the sale, completing the transaction has been lengthy.

The overall value of the purchase surpasses the previous record for the sale of a sports team - $2.4 billion for the baseball franchise of the New York Mets in 2020.

Special license

Since Abramovich was sanctioned in 2003 for buying Chelsea, the club has been required to operate under a special license from the government.

The UK government labeled Abramovich as a member of Putin's inner circle. Abramovich is also the subject of EU sanctions.

When Abramovich purchased Chelsea in 2003 for just £140m ($175m), Manchester United and Arsenal were the dominant forces in the Premier League. The Chelsea that Abramovich will leave is vastly different from the club he purchased at the time.

The club was converted from a mid-table side on the verge of financial collapse to one of the wealthiest in the Premier League because of the vast resources of the Russian, who consistently funded blockbuster deals.

In his 19-year tenure, he has been awarded a stunning 19 major trophies, including five Premier League crowns and two Champions League victories.

The entrance of Abramovich at Stamford Bridge also sparked an influx of foreign investment in the Premier League.

Last year's Champions League Chelsea finished third in the Premier League in 2021/22, qualifying for Europe's premier club competition.

The Blues also reached the finals of the League Cup and FA Cup in English football but lost both on penalty kicks to Liverpool.

Stamford Bridge, home to Chelsea with a capacity of 42,000, requires extensive renovation to match their rivals' stadium size and revenue sources.

However, Boehly has a track record of stadium improvement and sporting success with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers have qualified for the MLB (Major League Baseball) playoffs every season for the past nine years, and in 2020 they will win their first World Series in 32 years.

Publish : 2022-05-25 15:49:00

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