Chelsea’s sale may not be fast-tracked — don’t call it a fire! sale — but it’s unlikely to be a drawn-out process with the Premier League confirming that nothing would be able to be done if (and when?) Roman Abramovich’s assets get frozen by the UK government.
And that would not be great for anyone involved, especially all the employees of the club and the charitable organization that is supposed to be set up with the net proceeds of this transaction (where net proceeds likely means sale price less administrative and legal fees since the owner has made it fairly clear that he wants no money out of the club). A lot of details need to be worked out still, in every regard, in this ad-hoc and fast-moving situation. And yeah, that whole trustees and stewardship thing is dead in the water now.
Premier League CEO Richard Masters, speaking at the Business of Football summit, also confirmed that the league stand at the ready to facilitate a smooth and efficient transfer of power.
“The situation has escalated incredibly quickly over the last seven days and he’s come to the right conclusion. It’s unsustainable in the current environment. It’s a welcome decision and obviously, for the sake of everybody, including the fans, as soon as the sale process concludes everyone has certainty.”
“[But] I don’t think that will work [if he’s sanctioned]. I think the quickest (sale) we have ever done is 10 days, that’s not to say that record can’t be beaten but normally it takes a number of weeks. It all depends on the complexity of the deal and the number of potential owners. Provided the information is easily digestible, easily understandable and gives us all the right answers it can be done relatively quickly.”
-Richard Masters; source: Goal
As to who might be coming in, Hansjörg Wyss and his team of investors seem to be the leading candidates. That team is now reportedly “complete”, and it includes Todd Boehly, who already tried to buy Chelsea once, back in 2019. Boehly’s a minority owner of the LA Dodgers (baseball) and the LA Lakers (basketball), among other sports and non-sports investments.
⚽️ #Breaking (1/2): I’m told that the American-Swiss consortium with Todd Boehly and Hansjörg Wyss have found other partners. The team is complete! Negotiations with #Abramovich are already taking place. He still wants to sell #Chelsea quickly.— Nicola Imfeld (@nicola_imfeld) March 3, 2022
The Wyss consortium aren’t the only ones looking at the situation, but someone who isn’t is another former interested party, with a spokesperson confirming to Reuters that Sir James Ratcliffe remains uninterested after seeing his own efforts knocked back a few years ago as well. Certain tabloids claimed that Britain’s richest man would try again, but apparently there is “no substance” to that story, which is par for the course for those publications.
One additional development of note is the Telegraph’s report that Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia’s future is not quite decided yet, and there’s still a chance that she stays, though probably at a reduced level of power and influence than she had enjoyed as The Emperor’s Hand over the past decade or so. There’s apparently an understanding by those looking to bid for the club that she’s essential to the smooth running of the club as a whole (football and business sides, both), so as long as various pertinent details can be worked out (such as her association with potentially sanctioned individuals), she might be staying on to lead us into the next phase of our history.
Marina Granovskaia is facing a dilemma over her Chelsea future - some assume she will just leave with Abramovich, I'm told no decisions have been made and that one group at least would be open to her staying on. A big piece on her situation #cfc https://t.co/fGJJ4nmGXJ— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) March 3, 2022