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UK Government ‘content to approve’ all four bids; Pagliuca adds funding; Granovskaia to be asked to stay? — reports

The latest in the bidding war

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Chelsea v Manchester United - The Emirates FA Cup Final Photo by Marc Atkins/Offside/Getty Images

As we learned last week, Raine Group decided to seek government approval for all four potential Chelsea ownership groups, presumably so that we don’t get surprised later by picking winners not to their liking — even if none of the four seem particularly controversial in the current political climate.

And according to the Evening Standard, that is in fact the case, with the UK Government “content to approve any of the four bidders”, giving Raine free ... rein ... to choose (hopefully) the best qualified and most enticing offer.

The Boehly and Ricketts bids seem to be the two frontrunners still, but part of the reason why could be because they’ve run the most public campaigns. The Broughton and Pagliuca bids have remained more shadowy and opaque, though we do have some news regarding the latter.

Like all the other groups, Pagliuca has now met with key Chelsea stakeholders and according to Sky News, has also added (or has been revealed to have added) NBA chairman Larry Tanenbaum and Facebook co-founder Andrew Garfield Eduardo Saverin to his consortium, among a couple other investors and hedge fund types.

Regardless of who wins the bidding war, success on the pitch will only be ensured if the right people are hired in the right positions. The owners’ responsibility will be in funding the operations at all levels, transfers, and of course the stadium, but the actual football will still fall on the shoulders of the players, coaches, and administrators. We do have some of the best already employed in many of those positions, so it would behoove us to keep that continuity going through and beyond this transition.

To that effect, we have a story form The Athletic’s David Ornstein that “all four bidders” will offer Marina Granovskaia her job back — though for now she remains non-committal to any of the four groups or potential outcomes of this process. Were she to stay, it would mark the end of a quarter-century-long association with Roman Abramovich, dating back to her first job at Sibneft in 1997. She’d been a senior advisor to Abramovich for the past 18 years and has been in effect running Chelsea since 2010 (and officially since 2013).

On a final note, there’s also been a minor amendment to Chelsea’s operating licence, allowing the club to pay more of our (current AND former) employees’ benefits, which is one of those oversights that once again draws into question the true purpose of these restrictions placed on the club.

10.6. The Parent may pay fees to providers of employment benefits for current and former employees of the Parent and its UK subsidiaries (including private health insurance providers) where the Parent has an obligation which existed before 10 March 2022 to provide such benefits to its current and former employees and those of its UK subsidiaries.

-OFSI General Licence INT/2022/1327076, April 11 update

And no, we still can’t sell tickets to Premier League home games, or engage in any kind of merchandising, or give out new contracts, or conduct any transfers. This is bound to end not only this war, but all war forever.