Abramovich ‘has say on destiny’ of record-breaking Chelsea sale

Roman Abramovich will reportedly influence the destiny of Chelsea despite being barred from selling the club, which is set to be sold for a record-breaking sum

Outgoing Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wants the Champions League contenders to be sold to buyers with a track record, a vision for the club and easy access to funds, according to a report about the sale the Russian businessman has been barred from completing because of his alleged close ties to Vladimir Putin.

Around 20 bidders are thought to be competing to buy the third-placed team in the Premier League, which could be sold swiftly under special dispensation after the UK government sanctioned Abramovich and imposed restrictions on the club to stop him from profiting from the business.

Billionaire Abramovich, who has bankrolled the club to win every major club trophy available since taking over in 2003, will still influence the sale which is being overseen by merchant bank group Raine Group, The Athletic has claimed.

The outlet has also said that Chelsea will be sold for the highest price ever paid for a sports club or franchise in a deal that could be worth more than $4 billion.

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Abramovich was reported to be looking for a figure closer to $4.6 billion when he confirmed the club was for sale on March 2, six days after Russia's attack on Ukraine began. 

Boris Johnson's Conservative government sanctioned Abramovich on March 10, although the 55-year-old has always denied that he has done anything to warrant being punished.

The club is operating under measures which include a ban on ticket and merchandise sales, new contracts for players, new signings and spending more than $26,000 on travel to away matches.

Potential bidders include Major League Baseball side LA Dodgers' part-owner Todd Boehly, the Ricketts family, who own the Chicago Cubs, and British property magnate Nick Candy.

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Nizar Al-Bassam, the co-founder of investment firm Centricus, who are in the running, warned on Monday that a deal needed to be completed quickly.

"There's a clock [on finding a new owner for Chelsea] ticking because the club is bleeding money at a faster rate than it should be while there's uncertainty there," he explained.

The record paid for a sports club is the $3.35 billion spent by Joseph Tsai for NBA team Brooklyn Nets and their Barclays Center home in 2019.

Abramovich is thought to have bought Chelsea for the equivalent of $233 million when he took over from Ken Bates.

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