A Saudi Arabian consortium has reportedly bid $3.5 billion to buy Chelsea, as the west London club are currently operating on a restricted licence after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government due to his close connections with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
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A report from CBS Sports’ Ben Jacobs says that Chelsea fan Mohamed Alkhereiji is leading the bid, which is not linked to the Saudi Arabian government and is a private bid.
Per the report, there is funding from Mohammed bin Khalid Al Saud who is the chair of Saudi Telecom Company (STC) which is owned by the Saudi Arabian state.
It has been widely reported that The Raine Group, the bank handling the sale of Chelsea, has asked for all serious bids to be tabled by this Friday (March 18).
What is going on?
After Russian owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK and had all of his assets, including Chelsea, frozen by the government, Chelsea have been in turmoil.
The Premier League side were handed a temporary licence to operate until May 31, 2022 but that license has severe restrictions and means the club cannot generate any revenue from match tickets, club merchandise and cannot offer new contracts to players or buy and sell players.
Per the UK government, they have said they are willing to grant Chelsea Football Club a new operating license if a new buyer is found. But under the condition that Roman Abramovich does not receive a single penny from the sale of the club. If that happens, the UK government will sanction the sale of the club.
Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and has bankrolled their incredible period of success on the pitch over the last 19 years, as they’ve won every major trophy.
The UK government said in a statement that “Roman Abramovich is a prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch” and that he has “had a close relationship with Vladimir Putin for decades.”
Who is the running to buy Chelsea?
Part-owner of the L.A. Dodgers Todd Boehly has joined Swiss businessman Hansjorg Wyss to make a bid as part of a consortium, while Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak has previously said he has tabled an offer to buy the Blues.
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson has been linked with a bid for Chelsea, while billionaire Josh Harris — already invested in Crystal Palace — owns the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers and he is also interested in buying Chelsea.
Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is also said to be interested, while British luxury property developer Nick Candy, who is a Chelsea season ticket holder, is said to be ready to table a bid as the leader of a consortium.
The Raine Group who are handling the sale of Chelsea previously stated that over 200 enquiries have been made to buy the club, so there is no shortage of interest from those trying to secure Chelsea’s future.