London, May 25 (IANS) The UK government has given its nod for the proposed takeover of Premier League giants Chelsea by the Todd Boehly consortium for 4.25 billion pounds.
Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich, under whom the club won five Premier League and two UEFA Champions League titles, had in February given the “stewardship and care” of the club to a charitable foundation in the wake of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
In March, Abramovich said he planned to sell the club. The Russian owner was left with little choice as a week later, he was sanctioned by the UK government for his links with President Vladimir Putin.
On Tuesday, the government approved the 4.25 billion pound takeover of Chelsea by a consortium led by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, according to BBC.
Earlier, the proposed takeover by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake consortium was approved by the Premier League Board, which sent the proposal for approval of the UK government.
“Late last night the UK government reached a position where we could issue a licence that permits the sale of Chelsea,” a government spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday, BBC reported.
“Following the sanctioning of Roman Abramovich (in March), the government has worked hard to ensure Chelsea has been able to continue to play football. But we have always been clear that the long-term future of the club could only be secured under a new owner,” the statement said,
The UK government will ensure that Abramovich does not receive any of the proceeds from the sale and that the money is donated to charity.
“Following extensive work, we are now satisfied that the full proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or any other sanctioned individual. We will now begin the process of ensuring the proceeds of the sale are used for humanitarian causes in Ukraine, supporting victims of the war,” the statement added.
“The steps today (Tuesday) will secure the future of this important cultural asset and protect fans and the wider football community. We have been in discussions with relevant international partners for necessary licences required and we thank them for all their cooperation.”
The deal was close to collapse earlier this month over fears that the proceeds might not “reach good causes as promised by Abramovich”, the report said.
The report added that the consortium, led by Boehly, will have Clearlake Capital — a Californian private equity firm — as the majority shareholder in Chelsea. “Other investors include US billionaire Mark Walter, also a co-owner of the LA Dodgers, and Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss,” the report said.