Roman Abramovich’s decision to sell Chelsea will carry extended impact for the Blues.
Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich has owned Chelsea since 2003 but announced on Wednesday 2 March that he would be selling the Premier League club.
Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine has forced Abramovich’s hand, amid major geopolitical upheaval.
Here, we look at the state of play at Stamford Bridge.
How did the news go down?
Chelsea’s staff, coaches and players were caught slightly by surprise, especially given the timing. The Blues were at Kenilworth Road, going through late preparations for the FA Cup fifth-round tie against Luton, that Chelsea won 3-2.
What happens now?
American merchant bank The Raine Group has been engaged to handle the sale, and prospective bidders are busy compiling their offers.
What have you been like?
Chelsea are understood to have already received several serious offers, with the Blues hierarchy expecting more bids to come. Chelsea’s status as Champions League holders and one of the world’s most prominent clubs means no shortage of suitors are interested.
So what’s the asking price?
Abramovich is thought to be confident of achieving in the region of £3billion, while several interested parties are clearly in the stage of exploring lower bids. Chelsea’s current owner is determined the sale will follow standard procedure and timescale.
Who is in the frame to buy the club?
Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and American magnate Todd Boehly were the first to make their public intention on a bid for the Blues, with a consortium offer being composed. Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak has also claimed a bid. A string of other names have also been linked, though no one else has made their candidacy public. Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s spokesperson denied a bid last week, but the Ineos boss has held prior interest in the Blues. Another British billionaire Nick Candy has been linked to a bid, while several investors in US sport are harboring interest too.
Will Chelsea remain a major global power after the sale?
Abramovich is thought to be determined to transfer Chelsea to owners matching his ambitions for the Stamford Bridge club. The 55-year-old has pledged to write off the £1.5bn of loans, and hopes to be able to donate in the region of £2bn to a newly-created charitable foundation to aid victims of the war in Ukraine, from all sides of the conflict. Only time will tell however on Chelsea’s continued strength: the eventual new owners must continue heavy investment and treat Chelsea as an elite sporting entity in every aspect to preserve the status quo.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.