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Chelsea’s UK£4.25bn sale complete as Todd Boehly confirmed as new owner

Takeover finalised on 30th May, following approval from UK government.

31 May 2022 PA

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The UK£4.25 billion (US$5.35 billion) takeover of English soccer giants Chelsea by a consortium led by US billionaire Todd Boehly has officially been completed.

The co-owner of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers has vowed to build on Chelsea’s “remarkable history of success” after completing the acquisition.

The consortium formally became the club’s new owner on 30th May, having finalised the record sports club acquisition from Roman Abramovich.

Boehly’s consortium fought off 11 serious rivals to become the new Chelsea owner, in a sale process that started on 2nd March and comprised more than 250 enquiries.

Boehly will share joint control and equal governance of the club with main partner Clearlake Capital investment firm.

The 48-year-old will serve as chairman of the holding company, backing up his status as controlling owner – a set-up reached by virtue of his extensive working relationship with Clearlake chief Behdad Eghbali.

“We are honoured to become the new custodians of Chelsea Football Club,” Boehly said. “We’re all in – 100 per cent – every minute of every match.

“Our vision as owners is clear: we want to make the fans proud.

“Along with our commitment to developing the youth squad and acquiring the best talent, our plan of action is to invest in the club for the long term and build on Chelsea’s remarkable history of success.

“I personally want to thank ministers and officials in the British Government, and the Premier League, for all their work in making this happen.”

Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich’s 19-year tenure as Chelsea owner is now at an end. The 55-year-old led Chelsea to 19 major trophies during his tenure, before officially putting the club up for sale on 2nd March, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

The UK government then sanctioned Abramovich on 10th March, claiming to have proven his links to Vladimir Putin.

Chelsea were able to continue to operate thanks to a strict, temporary government licence, with Abramovich’s other UK assets frozen.

The UK government, European Union and the Portuguese government had to issue new licences to allow the sale to be completed.

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and US tycoon Mark Walter are the other main members of the consortium.

Clearlake Capital co-founders Eghbali and Jose Feliciano revealed their delight at pulling off the deal for Chelsea, and immediately pointed to a bright future.

‘We are excited to commit the resources to continue Chelsea’s leading role in English and global football, and as an engine for football talent development,’ Eghbali and Feliciano said in a joint statement.

‘We also want to thank the authorities for all their work throughout the process.

‘As pioneers in sports and media investing, we are thrilled to partner with Todd and the rest of the consortium to meaningfully grow the club as a global platform.

‘Together, we will expand the club’s investment across infrastructure, technology, and sports science to support the incredible Chelsea football and commercial teams – all with the goal of leveraging this growth to fuel even more on-pitch success.’

The sale was approved after the British government was satisfied that Abramovich would not benefit financially from the transaction.

A UK government spokesperson told the PA news agency: “Today’s change of ownership marks a new chapter for Chelsea football club in the best interests of its fans, the club and the wider football community.

“The club is now no longer subject to the sanctions imposed on Roman Abramovich, an individual who has enabled Putin’s brutal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine.

“Since sanctions were imposed on Abramovich on 10th March, we have worked tirelessly to ensure the club can continue to play football, while maintaining the integrity of our sanctions regime.

“Chelsea’s long-term future is now secured and binding commitments have been received which ensure sanctioned individuals cannot financially benefit from the sale. The Government retains control to ensure that this is the case.

“We have begun the process of ensuring the proceeds are used for humanitarian purposes in Ukraine that result from Russian aggression. Further details will be set out in due course.”

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