UK government approves £4.25 billion Chelsea takeover

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LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly

The UK government has given its approval to a group led by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly to buy Chelsea for £4.25 billion.

Before owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned for his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the London club was placed up for sale in March.

The Premier League announced on Tuesday that the group had passed its owners’ and directors’ exam.

Chelsea have been operating under a special government licence which expires on 31 May.

“Late last night the UK government reached a position where we could issue a licence that permits the sale of Chelsea,” a government spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday.

The government does not want Abramovich to gain any of the sale revenues, which will instead be placed in a frozen bank account and donated to charity.

 “Following the sanctioning of Roman 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.”

“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.”

Abramovich denied asking for the repayment of his £1.5 billion debt to Chelsea after the club was sold.

Boehly is the consortium’s leader, but Clearlake Capital, a California-based private equity firm, would hold the majority of Chelsea’s shares. Other investors include Mark Walter, a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Hansjorg Wyss, a Swiss millionaire.

Chelsea finished third in the Premier League, losing the EFL Cup and FA Cup finals on penalties to Liverpool, and exiting the Champions League in the quarter-finals.