Chelsea FC races to complete sale of club by May 31
Ricky Gray | May 4, 2022
Sources told ESPN that the U.K. government insisted the sale must be done by the end of the month.
Complications surrounding the sale of Chelsea FC have arisen after Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly was named as the preferred bidder. One of these complications was the 11th-hour bid by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
Now, with the U.K. government requesting the sale be completed by May 31, the New York-based merchant bank Raine Group is against the clock. A report on Wednesday stated that Ratcliffe's bid wouldn't be accepted, however, he apparently remains on standby.
ESPN was told by sources that Boehly has a short period of exclusivity, where he can finalize the terms of the deal. This should occur over the course of the next few days. Interestingly enough, the current owner, Roman Abramovich could seek repayment on the £1.6bn loan he has made to the club.
This is where it gets interesting because the loan was made via Chelsea's parent company, Fordstam Limited, which is owned by Abramovich. Chelsea's recent financial results from December state that the club "is reliant on Fordstam Limited for its continued support."
On March 2, Abramovich released a statement saying: "I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid." However, the recent developments state otherwise.
The government granted Chelsea a license to continue fulfilling fixtures until May 31, at that point, Chelsea could risk going out of business. We believe an agreement will be reached long before May 31, especially with Boehly as the frontrunner.
After the agreement is reached, the winning bidder would need to complete the Premier League's owners' and directors' test. A spokesman from the Premier League didn't respond to ESPN's question regarding whether Boehly has taken the test.
On June 9, the Premier League will formally issue shares to the 20 member clubs for the 2022-2023 season. If Chelsea is unable to obtain a license, they will not be allowed to compete this season.