Chelsea sale: Talks to continue with prospective new owners

Graeme Bailey

Talks to sell Chelsea Football Club are continuing despite the UK government placing sanctions on current owner Roman Abramovich, 90min has been informed.

Abramovich's assets - including Chelsea - are now officially frozen meaning their business can continue operating after a special licence was issued by the government, but things such as ticket sales and player transfers are suspended.

Chelsea had been in the process of finding a new buyer and Raine Group, who are handling the sale, initially set a deadline of March 15th for prospective buyers to register their intent.

Up to 20 potential new owners, many of them billionaires, have already registered their interest, and 90min has been told by sources close to the situation that the process of finding a buyer is ongoing - and that the government have told Chelsea that there will be special dispensation to get the deal done.

Indeed, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made it clear that a sale is still very much an option, although an additional 'licence' would be needed - but that is not seen as a major issue.

“We would have to grant a further licence," the spokesperson confirmed.

“I think it is fair to say the government is open to the sale of the club, but - currently - it would require another licence and that would require a further conversation with the Treasury."

The key factor in the sale of Chelsea going ahead will be a guarantee from all parties that none of the funds or proceeds from the sale are received by Abramovich, or anyone associated with him - which could mean the UK government even holding the funds before allocating them.

With that in mind, the expectation from sources within the club is that the sale of Chelsea will still go-ahead "on a similar timeline" to what was already in place.

Chelsea are understandably keen to see the sale go through as soon as possible, so they can limit any issues that could impact on the club - such as future transfers they are already in talks to finalise.