The English Premier League has announced that its board has approved the £4.25 billion (€5 billion) takeover of Chelsea by Todd Boehly’s consortium after all prospective board members passed its owners’ and directors’ test.
Completion of the club's purchase from Roman Abramovich must still be cleared by the UK government, which has to issue a sale licence. It wants to be satisfied that none of the proceeds will go to Abramovich, who was hit with sanctions after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and to get guarantees regarding his £1.6 billion (€1.87 billion) loan to the club.
There is growing confidence that Abramovich will agree to legally binding guarantees that would allow the money to be placed in a frozen account under government control. Chelsea’s special operating licence expires on May 31st and it looks increasingly likely the sale will be formalised this week.
The league said in a statement: “The Premier League board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake consortium.
“The purchase remains subject to the government issuing the required sale licence and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction.
“The board has applied the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test to all prospective directors, and undertaken the necessary due diligence.
"The members of the consortium purchasing the club are affiliates of the Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., Todd Boehly, Hansjörg Wyss and Mark Walter. Chelsea FC will now work with the relevant governments to secure the necessary licences to complete the takeover."
Boehly and Walter are part-owners of baseball’s LA Dodgers and Wyss is a Swiss businessman. The US investment firm Clearlake Capital is taking a majority stake in Chelsea, although Boehly will be the controlling owner.
The UK government has proposed a two-stage process in which the money from the sale would go into an escrow account, where it would be held until it is satisfied the funds will go to a charity for victims of the war in Ukraine.
It is expected that the charity will be established after the sale has gone through and assurances have been made that the foundation will be independent of Abramovich. Mike Penrose, the former Unicef UK executive director, has been asked to run the charity. – Guardian