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Todd Boehly consortium signs agreement to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich

London, May 7 (IANS) A consortium led by LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly on Saturday signed an agreement to purchase Chelsea from departing owner Roman Abramovich.

The group headed by the LA Dodgers which have backing from Clearlake Capital, a US investment firm, beat off late competition from 4.25 billion pound bidder Sir Jim Ratcliffe and other consortiums led by Stephen Pagliuca and Sir Martin Broughton to win the battle to become the Premier League club’s new owners.

The proposed deal announced by the club has to be approved by the UK Government and the Premier League before it can be completed. Chelsea say a deal is “expected to complete in late May”.

Notably, Chelsea had until May 31 to find a new bidder as the UK Government’s licence for the club to operate runs out on that date. With the Raine Group — hired by Abramovich to oversee the sale of the club — having chosen its preferred bidder, the government can issue a separate licence to allow the Premier League club to be sold.

The Premier League is meeting on June 8 to constitute the new season, by which time Chelsea would need to have a licence to be part of the next campaign.

“Chelsea Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter, and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club,” Chelsea said in a statement.

“Of the total investment being made, £2.5bn will be applied to purchase the shares in the Club and such proceeds will be deposited into a frozen UK bank account with the intention to donate 100 percent to charitable causes as confirmed by Roman Abramovich.

“In addition, the proposed new owners will commit £1.75bn in further investment for the benefit of the Club. This includes investments in Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team and Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation,” it added.

It has been learnt that Chelsea will have new owners by the end of this month — nearly three months after Russian owner Abramovich, who has been at the Stamford Bridge helm for 19 years, first put the club up for sale on March 2.

The 55-year-old was sanctioned by the UK Government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven links between the Russian-Israeli billionaire and Vladimir Putin.

However, this week, departing Chelsea owner Abramovich denied he wants his 1.5 billion pounds loan to the Blues repaid and has committed to giving proceeds from the sale of the club to charity. The Russian owner said he would not be asking for his loans to Chelsea to be repaid and that proceeds from the sale of the club would go to a charitable foundation for “all the victims of the war in Ukraine”.

–IANS

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