Chelsea sale under threat as government clashes with Abramovich

The UK government is accusing Roman Abramovich of delaying the sale and claiming he is willing to let the club go under

According to reports in England, including by Sky Sports and The Times, the £4.25bn sale of Chelsea FC from Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich to an investment group led by Todd Boehly has hit a snag and could be in jeopardy.

The reports state that Abramovich has not agreed to the pay structure laid out by the UK government to finalize the sale, meaning the transaction has yet to be approved.

The sale of the club has been brought about due to UK government sanctions against Abramovich for his ties to the Russian regime that has invaded Ukraine. Those sanctions require UK government officials to oversee the sale of the club.

But ministers have grown worried in recent days that Abramovich has become “more punchy” in his demands over the terms of the sale, according to government officials.

At the heart of concerns in Whitehall is Chelsea’s deeply complicated ownership structure and the determination of ministers that every penny from the sale is allocated to good causes.

It’s understood that Abramovich is requesting that the £1.6bn debt is repaid before being frozen and then transferred to the new foundation set up which will see all of the proceeds of Chelsea’s sale go to help victims of the war in Ukraine.

But the government says it is wary of an attempt from Abramovich to ‘divert’ the funds.

‘There’s quite serious concern in government that the deal may fall apart and that Roman Abramovich is ultimately willing to let Chelsea go under,’ a government source said.

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