Government believe Roman Abramovich is ‘ultimately willing to let Chelsea GO UNDER’ with their £2.6bn takeover now in doubt in an ‘alarming’ row over sale structure – and disaster just 16 days away
- Chelsea’s sale to a Todd Boehly-led consortium has been thrown back into doubt
- Roman Abramovich is refusing to accept a sale structure from the Government
- Ministers are proposing for the proceeds to be placed into a holding account
- They are then calling for it to go to a foundation for victims of the war in Ukraine
- Abramovich wants his £1.6bn loan to go to Camberley International Investments
- He then plans for it to go to the foundation, but the delay is a major concern
Chelsea’s £2.6billion takeover has been thrown into doubt once again after Roman Abramovich refused to accept a sale structure proposed by the UK Government, according to reports.
The Blues confirmed earlier this month that a consortium led by US tycoon Todd Boehly had agreed a deal to acquire the club from Abramovich, who is selling up after being sanctioned by the Government back in March.
But according to The Times, that takeover is now in jeopardy due to a dispute concerning the £1.6billion debt Abramovich is owed by Chelsea’s parent company Fordstam.
Chelsea’s £2.6bn takeover is back in doubt with Roman Abramovich refusing a sale structure
The Government are proposing that all of the £2.6billion from Chelsea’s sale to the Boehly-led consortium goes into a holding account before it is satisfied the proceeds will then go to a foundation to help victims of the war in Ukraine.
However, Abramovich and Chelsea are calling for the £1.6billion owed from Fordstam to be repaid to Jersey-registered Camberley International Investments and frozen before going to the foundation.
This is considered to be a ‘red line’ by the Government, who insist doing so would break the sanctioning rules imposed on Abramovich as there would be no legal guarantees to stop the money from falling to the Russian or his beneficiaries.
A Government source is quoted as saying: ‘There’s quite serious concern in government that the deal may fall apart and that Roman Abramovich is ultimately willing to let Chelsea go under.
The Blues recently confirmed a consortium led by Todd Boehly had agreed a deal to buy them
But a dispute concerning the £1.6billion loan owed to Abramovich is delaying the takeover
‘There’s alarm in government about the gap between what Abramovich has said he will do publicly and what he’s willing to commit to legally as part of the sale process. There are pressing deadlines this week, and if there isn’t a breakthrough, we’re quite concerned that the sale of Chelsea could be timed out by certain sporting deadlines.’
Chelsea were hoping to complete Boehly’s takeover earlier this week, but the delay in Abramovich agreeing a sale structure is now seen as a major concern.
The clock is ticking for them to secure a licence to continue football operations, with the special licence granted to them by the Government amid sanctions imposed on Abramovich set to expire on May 31.
The Premier League also has its AGM on June 8, and if Chelsea are not fully licenced by then they will not be eligible for a place in next season’s Premier League – nor can they be selected as a Champions League or Europa League representative by the FA.
Government ministers are proposing a two-stage process to complete their takeover; Firstly, the £2.6billion would go into an escrow account which would be set up for all the proceeds to go to a charitable foundation Abramovich insists would be entirely independent and run by the former head of a United Nations organisation.
The second stage would then see the money released once both Government and potentially Abramovich are satisfied that the foundation is ready to receive and spend it appropriately.
Nevertheless, the Government is not prepared for Camberley International – a company they believe is owned by a trust fund registered in Cyprus which benefits Abramovich’s children – to receive any of the proceeds.
Abramovich’s team released two statements in the past two weeks denying that he has any plans to renege on his promise to write off the debt, but the delay is providing a serious threat to Chelsea’s future.
The west London club therefore have just a fortnight to get Boehly’s deal over the line, with time running out for an agreement to be reached.