Report: Chelsea's £4.25B takeover at risk of falling apart over sale structure
U.K. officials are worried Chelsea's £4.25-billion takeover could collapse because of departing owner Roman Abramovich's refusal to guarantee the proceeds of the sale will go to good causes, sources told BBC Sport's Dan Roan.
Despite publicly pledging to divert the funds to charity, Abramovich has reportedly hesitated to commit to the same terms on a legal basis. The 55-year-old may even be willing to let Chelsea go under over the issue, a source told Roan.
Todd Boehly's consortium reached an agreement to buy Chelsea on May 7, beating out several competing offers with a record sum for a sports franchise. The group said it would deposit £2.5 billion of the amount into a frozen bank account and invest the remaining £1.75 billion into the club.
However, the takeover still requires government approval.
The U.K. imposed sanctions on the Russian oligarch in March, shortly after his country invaded Ukraine. Citing "clear connections" to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the British government froze Abramovich's assets, leaving Chelsea, which the billionaire has owned since 2003, in limbo. The Blues have been unable to renegotiate contracts or offer new deals to players under the terms of a special license the government granted to keep the club running.
With the special license expiring May 31 and the Premier League granting its own licenses at the beginning of June, government officials are scrambling to confirm the funds' ultimate destination. Chelsea could face expulsion from the Premier League if the sale doesn't happen by then.
Abramovich denied reports he's asking for £1.5 billion in loans to be repaid to him.
"Mr. Abramovich's intentions in relation to gifting the proceeds from the Chelsea sale to charity have not changed," a spokesperson for the Russian said.