Ministers are worried a £4.25bn deal to buy Chelsea may be at risk of “falling apart” due to a lack of consensus with the club over the proceeds of any sale, the BBC has learned. According to a UK government insider, there is now “alarm” in Whitehall that the takeover of the European champions could be “timed out” if deadlines are not met.
Chelsea have agreed terms on a deal with a private-equity funded consortium led by US investor Todd Boehly, co-owner of the LA Dodgers baseball team. The club was put up for sale before owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned for his alleged links to Russian president Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.
However a senior Whitehall source revealed there was now “serious concern” that the oligarch was “willing to let Chelsea go under” over an alleged “refusal to agree to a sale structure that gives ministers confidence that proceeds would go to a good cause”. The government version of events was disputed by sources close to Abramovich when approached. Chelsea have also been approached for comment.
Chelsea are operating under a special licence from the UK government which expires on 31 May, and any takeover requires the approval of ministers and the English football authorities.