The sale of Chelsea has been thrown into doubt over disagreements about what will happen to the £ 2.5billion the club is expected to be sold for.
US businessman Todd Boehly’s consortium are the preferred bidder to buy Chelsea, but the UK government will not allow the sale to go through unless it is completely certain Roman Abramovich will not receive any of the proceeds.
Two months ago Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale and said he would not be asking for his loans to the club to be repaid and all the proceeds would go to a charitable foundation for “all the victims of the war in Ukraine”.
Abramovich was sanctioned by the government on March 10, preventing him from doing any business in the UK.
But the sale of Chelsea is being conducted by the Raine Group, an investment bank appointed by Abramovich, and he will have the final say on who buys the club.
The government is aware of attempts to restructure any potential deal in a way which could see Abramovich receive the £ 1.5billion he has loaned the club through its parent company Fordstam Limited.
The government has to issue a special license for Chelsea to be sold and it would not do so if any of the proceeds were going to Abramovich or towards paying back the loans he is owed by the club.
Chelsea’s government license to operate runs out on May 31 and they are facing the prospect of going out of business unless the club is sold or the license is extended.
The Premier League are meeting on June 8 to constitute the new season, by which time Chelsea would need to have a license to be part of the next campaign.
Chelsea and Abramovich have declined to comment.
Prospective Chelsea buyers given flexibility over debt
Chelsea bidders were told last week that they would be allowed to borrow money to finance their offers for the club.
A source close to the sale process says the advice on debt was changed at the same time as the bidders were asked to increase their offers by £ 500m.
The bidders are believed to have been told that there would be an element of flexibility when it came to debt.
The Glazer family bought Manchester United in 2005 in a leveraged buyout which has so far cost the club more than £ 1billion in interest and repayments.
Where are we with the Boehly bid?
The Boehly-led consortium are the preferred bidders and they have until the end of this week to finalize the terms of an agreement to buy the club.
The bid is already being scrutinized by the Premier League to see if it passes their owners and directors test.
Like the other bids, they have presented their extensive plans for the club to the Raine Group and they have given guarantees that they will not sell the club for at least a decade.
They have also given assurances that they will invest at least £ 1billion in the club and infrastructure, including redeveloping Stamford Bridge.