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At least three ‘serious’ bidders for Chelsea to push ahead with process — reports

Sanctions just a minor bump in the road?

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BRITAIN-FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT-SANCTION Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Chelsea are currently in a semi-frozen state, able to operate but only in a rather restricted capacity as the UK government finally made good on their threats to sanction Roman Abramovich and freeze his UK-based assets.

What all that means exactly for Chelsea Football Club is still being worked out, but it is looking likely that the sale of the club will be able to go ahead at some point in the near future. As per various reports, including from the Times, Raine Group, who’ve been handling this for Chelsea, have put a pause on things for the moment, but are also informing potential bidders that the process “will continue ahead” of Tuesday’s deadline (March 15).

And the sanctions have also not deterred the leading candidates, according to the Telegraph, with “three American-led groups” having already made “serious proposals”. One of those is the Boehly-Wyss consortium, while “informed sources believe” the Ricketts (i.e. Chicago Cubs) and Johnson (i.e. NY Jets) bids are the other two. The report adds that Josh Harris and Vivek Ranadivé are still interested but only as far as “tagging on to another bid as part of a consortium”. Meanwhile, the bold claims from the likes of Muhsin Bayrak and Nick Candy are given short shrift.

The overall expectations seems to be that in a couple days, the government’s “special license” will be amended to allow for the sale, with the proceeds then going to either a frozen fund or into a charitable organization to benefit the victims of the war in Ukraine, as Abramovich had already intended. The outgoing Chelsea owner might have some say in all of this at some point (since the assets are not seized, only frozen), but one would expect him to play ball with the powers that be.

Chelsea probably can’t really survive in such a limbo for too long — competitively, financially, administratively, everything-ly — a few weeks or months at most maybe...