Chelsea’s parent company will be allowed to inject up to £30million into the football club to help the Premier League side ‘address any cash or liquidity issues’.
The British Treasury announced the decision on Wednesday in amendments to the special license granted to Chelsea to allow the club to continue operating despite the government’s decision to sanction owner Roman Abramovich, the Russian-Israeli billionaire, after the invasion of the Ukraine by Russia.
The move means Fordstam, Chelsea’s parent company, can inject funds that could be used to pay players’ bills or salaries as the club nears a sale.
Abramovich is the “ultimate controlling party” of Fordstam, according to his accounts, through which he owns Chelsea.
“We are all very aware of the financial situation and we are dealing with it until the sale,” said a government official.
“The club still has certain obligations that it must meet. [and] giving the club access to the parent company’s cash flow is the most appropriate way to ensure that these obligations can be met.
Chelsea’s auction, run by US investment bank Raine, is attracting wealthy suitors looking for a chance to join the ranks of England’s top 20 clubs. Raine selects a shortlist of bidders to move on to the next round of the process.
However, the transaction requires special approval from the British government, which is adamant that Abramovich cannot benefit from the proceeds of the sale.
Financed by Abramovich, Chelsea were made into a member of the Premier League’s so-called Big Six, alongside London heavyweight rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, and northern powerhouses Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United. Together, these clubs dominate the English game.
Bidders include Todd Boehly, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, and the Ricketts family, owners of the rival Chicago Cubs. City of London great Martin Broughton leads another group backed by private equity billionaires Josh Harris and David Blitzer.
Other interested parties include British property developer Nick Candy and London-based investment manager Centricus.
The original license imposed a series of restrictions on the club, such as a ban on the sale of merchandise, but allowed them to continue playing matches despite the sanctions against Abramovich.
The club remains stuck in selling tickets to its own fans for Premier League games at its home stadium, Stamford Bridge.
However, the license allows the club to resume selling new tickets under certain conditions.
Rival fans will be allowed to pay for admission to matches at the Chelsea ground. The club can sell tickets to all supporters for matches in the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s most prestigious club tournament, for domestic FA Cup matches and for the Women’s Super League.
But the proceeds from these sales will be directed to competition organisers, such as UEFA.
“The government today made changes to Chelsea Football Club’s license so that fans can access tickets for away matches, cup matches and women’s fixtures,” the UK minister said. of Sports Nigel Huddleston.
“I would like to thank the fans for their patience while we engaged with the football authorities to make this possible,” he added.
A Premier League spokesman said: “The revised license allows fans to attend Chelsea FC matches; Chelsea fans will travel to Premier League away matches and Chelsea fans will attend FA Cup, UEFA Champions League and WSL matches.
“The Premier League will receive and retain all revenue from the sale of these tickets which would normally have gone to Chelsea. Chelsea FC have requested and the Premier League have agreed that this revenue be donated to charity for the benefit of war victims in Ukraine.
“The beneficiary charities will be announced in due course after consultation with the club.”
Chelsea did not respond to a request for comment.
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