Government happy with all four remaining contenders to buy Chelsea

The Government is prepared to usher through Chelsea’s sale to any of the four shortlisted bidders, the PA news agency understands.

The remaining contenders to buy Chelsea must submit final offers for the Stamford Bridge club on April 14.

New York merchant bank the Raine Group will then hope to present a preferred bidder to Downing Street in the week of April 18.

Roman Abramovich, pictured, will sell Chelsea after 19 years owning the west London club (Adam Davy/PA)

(PA Wire)

The Government must approve the eventual buyer, with the issuing of a new Treasury license for the sale the final hurdle for Chelsea’s would-be new owners.

And sources close to the Government have revealed Downing Street’s satisfaction in principle with all remaining parties in the battle to buy the Blues from Roman Abramovich.

Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts family and Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly, in partnership with US mogul Mark Walter and British businessman Jonathan Goldstein, have both pushed hard in their bids for the Blues.

Sir Martin Broughton and Lord Sebastien Coe have teamed up on another bid, while Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca is also in the running.

Sebastian Coe is involved in one of the bids (Mike Egerton/PA)

(PA Wire)

The Ricketts family’s bid has drawn criticism among Chelsea supporters, with an online petition launched against their candidacy.

A small protest was also staged at Stamford Bridge ahead of Brentford’s 4-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday, April 2.

Chelsea supporters have objected to controversies around the family including patriarch Joe Ricketts’ Islamophobic statements in leaked emails from 2019.

Siblings Tom and Laura Ricketts are thought to be considered suitable bid leaders however, owing to their Cubs stewardship and efforts towards community relations and diversity and inclusion in Chicago.

Laura Ricketts, left, and Tom Ricketts, right, watching Chelsea Women (PA)

(AP Mean)

The bid also boasts major financial backing from two of America’s richest men in Ken Griffin and Dan Gilbert.

The Cubs owners’ public pledges to keep Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, reject any European Super League and to include supporters in decision-making processes are thought to have calmed any unease in Downing Street.

Broughton and Coe’s consortium’s bid for Chelsea would find favor in Government, given the duo’s clear establishment links and track record in sporting administration.

Boston Celtics chief Pagliuca’s track record in the NBA is not thought to generate any concerns in Downing Street either.

Both the Broughton and Pagliuca consortium offers would likely require diving of other football club shares, but Government chiefs are understood to expect Raine Group to have already accounted for such detail in whittling down their shortlist.

Josh Harris and David Blitzer would have to offload their shareholding in Crystal Palace if they are named in the Broughton bid as expected, while Pagliuca would need to reduce his 55 per cent share in Italian club Atalanta.

Sir Martin Broughton, pictured, is among those bidding to buy Chelsea (Peter Byrne/PA)

(PA Wire)

The Boehly-Goldstein bid appears to have precious few sticking points from a Government perspective.

The heads of the four consortiums met with Chelsea’s board executives last week, aiming to gather as much information as possible amid the fine-tuning of their bids.

Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

The 55-year-old was then sanctioned by the UK Government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his links to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Chelsea have been granted a special Government license to continue operating, though under strict terms.

Abramovich cannot profit from Chelsea’s sale, but had already vowed to write off the club’s £1.5billion debt.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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