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Chelsea sale to net £2.3b for Ukraine charity, with £100m set aside to cover liabilities — report

The net of the net

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Chelsea Takeover Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

When Roman Abramovich announced that he’s putting Chelsea up for sale, he also announced that he would be using the “net proceeds” from the sale to set up a charitable foundation to help support the victims of the war in Ukraine.

Cynics latched on to the “net” part, seeing it as a loophole of sorts for Abramovich to keep his money — they couldn’t conceive of him actually being true to his word — rather than explaining how such massive financial transactions aren’t easy ... or cheap. The lawyers, the executives, and all the movers and shakers all need to get paid, some quite handsomely.

Of course, unlike the constant deluge of fake news in football media, Abramovich meant exactly what he said. And while it’s the UK government who are now controlling the fate of these funds, they are set to follow Abramovich’s intentions. And just as before, it’s the “net” proceeds from the sale that will end up funding the charity (or charities).

That (net) amount is expected to be around £2.3b, with Chelsea reportedly also getting to hold back £100m — not as operating cash, but as funds to cover and potential unforeseen liabilities. This is standard practice in mergers and acquisitions (in case undeclared creditors or collectors come out of the woodwork), but the Telegraph’s report paints it as an emergency fund for potential financial sanctions instead — presumably stemming from Abramovich’s initial conversion of our debt to equity, which is indeed generous but also came before the Premier League’s toothless FFP was even a thing. This supposed issue had been a talking point throughout, but nothing in the real world.

In related news, earlier this week, we’ve had official Companies House filings for Chelsea Holdings, BlueCo 22, Blues Investments, and Blues Partners, entities that now form our new financial organization structure — the latter three essentially replacing Fordstam.

The interesting part here are the declared directors of these companies, which include Todd Boehly, Mark Walter, Hansjörg Wyss, and three managing partners from Clearlake, Behdad Eghbali, José Feliciano, and James Pade — all these appointments dated June 1. Neither Bruce Buck nor Marina Granovskaia are part of either BlueCo or Blues Partners, and reports agree that their futures have still not been decided. (They remain part of Chelsea Holdings, grandfathered in from Chelsea FC PLC.

In any case, Boehly and Eghbali look to be the most actively involved, and are in fact the ones reportedly representing us at this week’s Premier League owners meetings.