Chelsea Football Club's much publicised takeover by a consortium led by Todd Boehly has hit a roadblock following disagreements between the UK government and the club’s owner Roman Abramovich over the terms of the deal, according to reports.
The Premier League club had agreed terms with Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Boehly for the sale worth roughly £4.25 billion ($5.2 billion). According to the deal, the new owners would pay £2.5 billion to purchase shares while committing a further £1.75bn to invest in the stadium, women's team, the academy and the Chelsea Foundation.
However, Bloomberg reported that disagreements have emerged over the roughly £1.6 billion in debt owed to previous owner Roman Abramovich - the billionaire who was sanctioned by the UK government earlier in the year over his alleged ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Bloomberg's report stated that "the transaction, agreed this month, needs sign off from ministers to ensure funds don’t make their way to Abramovich. While Abramovich has agreed to waive the debt and have the money paid to a charitable foundation instead, details of exactly how this will happen are slowing the process".
Boehly is pushing to complete a deal by May 31, when a special operating license granted to Chelsea by the government expires. If that doesn’t happen and a license isn’t renewed, Chelsea run the risk of being unable to play matches next season.
Uncertainty over the deal, which was also reported by the Associated Press and The Times, is causing anxiety at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea’s season about to end without a men’s domestic trophy after losing the FA Cup final to Liverpool on Saturday following a similar defeat in the League Cup title match. The women’s team, however, won their FA Cup final on Sunday.
Abramovich was forced to offload the club after he was targeted in the British government’s crackdown on wealthy Russians with ties to Putin in February.
After several rival bids were rejected, Chelsea agreed to a deal with a consortium that features Boehly along with Dodgers principal owner Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, and funding from private equity firm Clearlake Capital.