Chelsea FC: UK government and EPL approve sale to Todd Boehly

The sale of Chelsea, which was previously owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, has also been approved by the English Premier League.

Abramovich put the club up for sale in early March following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying at the time it was “in the best interest of the Club.”

“Last night the Government issued a licence that permits the sale of Chelsea FC,” the UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries tweeted on Wednesday.

“Given the sanctions we placed on those linked to Putin and the bloody invasion of Ukraine, the long-term future of the club can only be secured under a new owner.

“We are satisfied the proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or other sanctioned individuals,” she added.

Boehly is now set to add Chelsea to the portfolio of sporting franchises he has invested in, including stakes in the MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.

The sale will end Abramovich’s almost two-decade tenure at the helm of the London club.

The Russian businessman has known ties to the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin and was sanctioned earlier this year after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

A spokesperson for the UK government said proceeds of the sale will be 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,” the spokesperson added.

“We have been in discussions with relevant international partners for necessary licences required and we thank them for all their cooperation.”

English Premier League approval

Earlier on Tuesday, the English Premier League announced that its board had approved the sale of Chelsea FC.

“The Premier League Board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Consortium,” the league said in a statement.

“Chelsea FC will now work with the relevant Governments to secure the necessary licences to complete the takeover.”

Since Abramovich’s assets were frozen as a result of government sanctions, the club has operated under restricted finances and according to a license issued by the UK government.

The Premier League statement noted Boehly had passed the board’s “Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test (OADT).”

The club said that of the total investment being made, 2.5 billion pounds ($3.08 billion) will be used to buy the shares in the club and this money would 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 would be required for the proceeds to be transferred from the frozen UK bank account, the club added.

It said the proposed new owners would also “commit 1.75 billion pounds ($2.16 billion) in further investment for the benefit of the club.” This would include investments in the club’s stadium Stamford Bridge, its academy, the women’s team and funding for the Chelsea Foundation charity.

The announcement of the Boehly deal came with just over three weeks remaining on the club’s current operating license, which expires on May 31.

Andrew Raine contributed to reporting.

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