Chelsea agree route forward with Government as Roman Abramovich seeks sale

The Blues have been handed a new licence to continue operations as normally as possible while ensuring Abramovich does not profit.

Roman Abramovich should be able to see his sale of Chelsea progress under careful Government watch (Adam Davy/PA)

By Nick Purewal, PA

Chelsea’s sale is expected to progress with Government oversight as bidders have been told to press on with submissions.

Owner Roman Abramovich’s Government sanctions had stalled proceedings, with the Russian-Israeli billionaire’s UK assets frozen.

Chelsea have been handed a new licence to continue operations however, and the Blues are still locked in negotiations with the Government to ease restrictions.

Graffiti close to Stamford Bridge shows the strong feelings around the situation at Chelsea (Yui Mok/PA)

But New York merchant the Raine Group has assessed the terms of the licence and agreed a route forward for the sale with the Government, the PA news agency understands.

Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, pledging to write off the Blues’ £1.5billion debt and to divert all proceeds to a new foundation to benefit victims of the war in Ukraine.

The 55-year-old moved to sell Chelsea after 19 years at the Stamford Bridge helm, amid Russia’s continued war in Ukraine.

The Government sanctioned Abramovich after claiming to have proved his direct links to Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime, although Chelsea’s owner has always denied any association.

The Raine Group’s progression of the sale means Chelsea’s suitors can again push forward with their bids to take control of the European and world champions of the club game.

Abramovich was understood to have been ready to work with Government oversight on the sale, and now the Raine Group has completed suitable checks the interested parties can press on.

LA Dodgers part owner Todd Boehly remains well-placed for a purchase, with Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts also understood to be in the running.

Nick Candy is among those interested in buying Chelsea (Ian West/PA)

British property tycoon Nick Candy has also confirmed his strong interest in buying the Blues and is in the process of building a consortium.

Chelsea saw several credit cards temporarily frozen on Friday amid a frenzied day of negotiations with the Government over the terms of their new operating licence.

Downing Street chiefs are ready to amend the terms of the licence so Chelsea can operate as normally as possible while ensuring Abramovich does not profit.

But Chelsea argue that Abramovich did not profit from regular operations anyway, so are hopeful of a swift restoration of a number of currently restricted concerns.

Chelsea cannot sell any new tickets, leaving fans without season tickets or pre-purchased tickets unable to attend future matches.

The Blues cannot sell any merchandise, including new match programmes, meaning vendors will not be able to work their shifts in Sunday’s Premier League clash against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.

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