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Chelsea sale in limbo awaiting UK government approval

The UK government has yet to approve the sale of Premier League club Chelsea to a consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly.

Outgoing Russian owner Roman Abramovich is not allowed to enjoy the proceeds of the sale as he has been sanctioned and his assets have been frozen due to his ties to President Vladimir Putin after the invasion of Ukraine.

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A license update allowing Chelsea to continue operating as a business is required from the government to approve the takeover. The club went up for sale in March and a quick process ended with Boehly Group being chosen as the new owner on May 6.

The license expires on May 31 and there is a risk to the club’s ability to continue operating if an agreement cannot be reached on the structure of the sale.

Chelsea released a statement this month from an anonymous spokesperson for Abramovich saying he would not seek repayment of £1.6 billion ($2 billion) loans. The government still wants these proceeds to be placed in a frozen account before they are sure they will eventually go to charity.

Abramovich said he hopes the £2.5bn ($3.1bn) proceeds from the sale will go to charitable causes, after previously saying they would go to aid war victims in Ukraine. The government wants assurances that Abramovich will have no say in choosing the foundation.

The lack of announcement of the new ownership comes with Chelsea’s season set to end without a men’s domestic trophy after losing the FA Cup final to Liverpool on Saturday. The women’s team won their FA Cup final against Manchester City on Sunday.

Abramovich was forced to offload the club after he was targeted during the British government’s crackdown on wealthy Russians linked to Putin in February. Abramovich did not condemn the war.

After several rival offers were rejected, Chelsea agreed to a deal with a consortium that includes Boehly with Dodgers principal owner Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and funding from private equity firm Clearlake Capital.


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