The government has given its approval to a £4.25bn takeover of Chelsea by a US consortium, bringing a fraught two-month saga at the West London club to an end.
This follows the Premier League greenlighting the deal yesterday, with LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly and his consortium passing its fit and proper persons test.
Other members of the consortium include Clearlake Capital – a Californian private equity firm – which would own a majority of the shares in Chelsea, US billionaire Mark Walter, also a co-owner of the LA Dodgers, and Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss.
The deal includes a £2.5bn sale fee, and £1.75bn in spending commitments over the next decade including on a new stadium.
The London club was put up for sale in March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The process was then complicated after Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned over his links to both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian armed forces through steel giant Evraz, where he is the largest shareholder.
Since March 10, Chelsea have been operating under a special government licence which expires on 31 May.
The government has been open to a sale, but has been determined to ensure none of the money from the sale went to Abramovich.
The Russian billionaire has insisted he does not want proceeds from the sale, and has instead called for a foundation to be set up to support humanitarian causes in Ukraine – led by former Unicef UK executive Mike Penrose.
A government spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday: “Late last night the UK government reached a position where we could issue a licence that permits the sale of Chelsea,”
“Following the sanctioning of Abramovich, the government has worked hard to ensure Chelsea has been able to continue to play football. But we have always been clear that the long-term future of the club could only be secured under a new owner.”
“Following extensive work, we are now satisfied that the full proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or any other sanctioned individual. We will now begin the process of ensuring the proceeds of the sale are used for humanitarian causes in Ukraine, supporting victims of the war.”
“The steps today will secure the future of this important cultural asset and protect fans and the wider football community. We have been in discussions with relevant international partners for necessary licences required and we thank them for all their cooperation.”