Premier League clubs have asked under-fire Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck if Roman Abramovich’s promise to clear the club’s outstanding £1.5billion debt could give the club itself , and to the Russian’s successor as owner, a competitive advantage.
The discussion arose during a call by the Premier League on Monday afternoon to update the other 19 clubs on the state of affairs at Chelsea, in light of the sanctions against Abramovich and the league’s subsequent decision on Saturday. to disqualify him as director. . Although Abramovich was never officially manager of the club – he is the sole owner through his company Fordstam Limited – he was in fact considered by the Premier League to be a manager.
As with many Premier League shareholder discussions, there was plenty of meaningful inference – and the hint of some clubs’ anxieties – in the questions, rather than direct confrontation. But the mood on the call, sources said, was that Chelsea’s new owners could potentially benefit from the elimination of debt, accumulated over the past 19 years as Abramovich propelled Chelsea into the top flight. European soccer. Buck answered questions from many clubs and did his best to appease and reassure those on the call that the benefits of selling Chelsea debt-free far outweighed any potential downsides.
Although not all of Chelsea’s traditional rivals spoke, some felt it was the so-called remaining big five, Manchester City, United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, who had the most great concerns. about taking control of the club and the ability for new owners to take advantage of not having to repay or repay debt.
Concerns from rivals Chelsea were brushed aside by more than one of the club’s potential buyers who remained confident a sale would go through without a new owner having to take on any of Abramovich’s old debts.
Buck said there was no suggestion Abramovich, who was sanctioned by the government last week in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and his association with President Vladimir Putin, would pull profit from the sale. He said it was the express intention of the Chelsea owner that all money raised from the sale would go to charity. There has been no specific comment yet on who will benefit from these funds, or who they will not.
No sale can yet take place until the government has issued Chelsea with a new license allowing the sale of the club. Under the terms of its current license, issued under the government’s sanction package “Russian regulations”, the club cannot be sold. Buck was clear in his discussion with the clubs that Chelsea had enough money on hand to complete the season and would not go into financial administration.
Bids for the club must be submitted before the close of business on Friday to the Raine Group in New York which is overseeing the process. After that, the terms of the government license will dictate how the process works, although it is understood that there will be considerable government oversight over the sale. Telegraph Sport have revealed that the consortium of American investor Todd Boehly, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and British businessman Jonathan Goldstein are the current favourites. The full picture of bidders will be much clearer by the weekend.
The Premier League and the government want a quick and trouble-free sale that does not involve politically sensitive entities.