Roman Abramovich’s era is officially over as Chelsea confirm club sale | Soccer

Roman Abramovich's era is officially over as Chelsea are sold to the Todd Boehly consortium

The £4.25billion takeover is finally complete (Images: PA/Getty Images)

Roman Abramovich’s time as the owner of Chelsea Football Club is officially over after a £4.25 billion takeover led by Todd Boehly finally closed on Monday.

The west London club was put up for sale in March after Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

Since then, Chelsea have operated under a special license that was due to expire on May 31 – with the deal being signed just in time to meet the deadline on Monday.

A statement from the club on Monday read: “Roman Abramovich has completed the sale of Chelsea Football Club and related companies to an investment group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.

“This sale process began on March 2 when Mr Abramovich announced his intention to sell the club after 19 successful years in ownership. In selling the club, Mr. Abramovich stipulated that the new owner must be a good steward of the club, the net proceeds of the sale must be donated to charity and that he would not require repayment of loans to affiliates of the club.

‘Following this announcement, the club’s board and officers immediately began work on the sale transaction. Raine, a global merchant bank selected by the owner to lead the sale process, has extensive knowledge and experience advising premium sports clubs on mergers and acquisitions and has advised the owner and the club throughout the process.’

Todd Boehly, prospective buyer of Chelsea FC, speaks to Bruce Buck, Chelsea chairman

Bruce Buck, left, remains chairman under Boehly, right (Image: Getty)

After a lengthy bidding process led by US merchant bank Raine Group, a consortium led by American businessman Boehly — majority funded by California investment firm Clearlake Capital — was selected as the preferred buyer.

Other investors include US billionaire Mark Walter – Boehly’s co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team – and Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, who first broke the news that Abramovich was looking to sell Chelsea.

Last week, the Premier League confirmed the consortium had passed the test of its owners and directors, with the deal also receiving final approval from the European Union and Portugal – an additional requirement due to Abramovich’s Portuguese citizenship.

The deal hit a stumbling block earlier this month over concerns about what would happen to the proceeds from the sale, as sanctions imposed on Abramovich prevented him from benefiting in any way.

But after extensive discussions, the government received the necessary assurances that the proceeds from the sale would go to a frozen bank account, which would then be used for “humanitarian purposes in Ukraine to support the victims of the war”.

The completion of the sale will now allow Chelsea to boost their transfer activity and resume contract talks with current players, both of which were banned while the club was sanctioned.

Roman Abramovich’s farewell message to Chelsea

“It has been almost three months since I announced my intention to sell Chelsea FC. During that time the team have worked hard to find the right Chelsea FC manager who will be best positioned to steer the club successfully into its next chapter.

“Owning this club comes with a lot of responsibility. Since joining Chelsea almost 20 years ago I have seen first hand what this club can achieve. My aim was to ensure the next owner had a mindset that would enable the success of both the men’s and women’s teams, as well as the will and motivation to continue developing other key aspects of the club, such as the academy and the vital work of the Chelsea Foundation.

‘I am pleased that this search has now come to a successful conclusion. As I hand Chelsea over to their new managers I wish them every success on and off the pitch.”

Manager Thomas Tuchel is keen to move quickly and decisively in the market and has been promised significant investment by the new owners, while Abramovich is demanding a commitment from his successors to investing in the club – both on and off the pitch.

The Russian oligarch bought the club for £140million in 2003 and oversaw the most successful era in Chelsea history. He invested heavily to secure five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League trophies during his tenure.

Chelsea spent over £2billion in the transfer market under Abramovich despite pulling the plug on building a new stadium on the current Stamford Bridge site – something prospective bidders had to commit to.

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Chelsea FC Roman Abramovich's era is officially over as Chelsea confirm club sale | Soccer

Nate Jones

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