Roman Abramovich has “given the green light” for the sale of Chelsea Football Club, as per the Telegraph, even without his own involvement following the sanctions that have been placed upon him by the UK government. This step was necessary since his assets didn’t get seized, and he could’ve decided to fight the sanctions or simply not let go of Chelsea — as unlikely as the latter would’ve been after his statement about his love for the club last week, forgiving our debts, etc.
The government is expected to amend the General Licence they issued for Chelsea to continue operating as a semi-frozen asset in the meantime, which should allow the sale to go through without any direct or indirect financial benefit to Abramovich himself.
This means that Raine Group LLC can resume the process that they were already coordinating, reportedly extending the bidding deadline from Tuesday, March 15 to next Friday, March 18. So far, about 3-5 serious bidders or investment groups have come forward, mostly from the USA, with bids in the region of £2-2.5b.
The sale is undoubtedly necessary to keep Chelsea financially solvent and structurally operational, though hopefully that still means that whoever comes in next will have the club’s best interests in mind and won’t just be looking to at it as predatory opportunity to make a quick buck. And I don’t mean Bruce.
The report makes it sound like Raine Group will be the ones making the decision on the “preferred buyer”, which is probably better than the government having the final say.