Friday , March 24 2023
Roman Abramovich

Chelsea sale thrown into doubt as Roman Abramovich demands £1.6bn loan be ‘repaid’

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The sanctioned Russian owner is looking for debt linked to the club’s parent company to be paid to a Jersey-based firm, according to reports, just four days after Todd Boehly’s consortium began exclusive takeover talks

Roman Abramovich is considering a U-turn on his vow to write off Chelsea’s £1.6bn debt as part of the club’s sale, according to a report from The Times, despite the takeover appearing to be nearing a conclusion.

Club officials last week told the government that they they want to restructure the way the club is being sold, the report said, with a demand that the debt linked to parent company Fordstam is paid off to a Jersey-based company called Camberley International Investments.

Fordstam’s latest accounts say that “Camberley International Investments Ltd provides funding to Fordstam Ltd and its subsidiaries as required to enable the Group to continue as a going concern.” But it is unclear who has ultimate ownership of Camberley International Investments Ltd, a company established in August 2020

A spokeswoman for Abramovich has not replied to a request for comment. Neither has a government spokesman.

When the club was put for sale in early March Abramovich said in a statement that “I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid.” He also said that any profits from a sale would go to victims of the war in Ukraine.

The latest development comes four days after it was revealed that the consortium led by American businessman Todd Boehly had entered exclusive talks with Chelsea over a deal that will break records for the sale of a sports team.

Two other shortlisted groups, fronted by former British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton and American Stephen Pagliuca, were informed that they were no longer being considered as viable next owners.

That news broke two hours after Britain’s richest man S ir Jim Ratcliffe announced that he would table a bid to buy the club that would, in total, be worth more than £4bn. But the fact his offer arrived nine weeks into a process that was being handled by US merchant bank Raine Group raised eyebrows.

Ratcliffe spent the weekend meeting with stakeholders involved in Chelsea, including the supporters’ trust, and could step in should the Boehly bid collapse.

A deal needs to be completed by the end of May when the operating licence created by the government when Abramovich was sanctioned because of his links to Russia president Vladimir Putin is set to expire. Minister Nadine Dorries last week warned that the clock was ticking.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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