We’re possibly just hours away from Raine Group announcing the shortlist of three or four finalists in this increasingly dramatic bidding process for the club, at which point those selected will be invited to submit a second offer to try to one-up each other and earn the decision-makers’ favor (i.e. Raine and Chelsea sans Abramovich, it would appear).
While the auction was defined from the very beginning to be not just about the highest bid, money will still rule the day — not the today, but rather the tomorrow and the days after. At least that’s what we’re trying to ensure, with Raine apparently seeking “binding commitments from bidders about future spending on the club and its stadium”, according to Sky News, who quote a supposed insider about the sort of “guarantees” Raine are looking for: “future capital funding for the club and stadium, and cash on the balance sheet”.
That sounds great in principle, even if these commitments will likely still fall below the levels of silly money that Abramovich poured into the club on a regular basis. It’s also unclear what sort of repercussions the new owners would face were they to renege on these commitments — would they be forced to sell? would Abramovich get the club back? would we get to turn back time ... if we could find a way?
Most of the serious bids had already talked long-term commitments and about future plans for the stadium as well, which is something that will certainly need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Codifying these commitments could help ease the transition. Perhaps we can even resurrect the plans for our Cathedral of Football?