Potential Chelsea owners in rush to finalise offers after Friday deadline set | Chelsea

Groups interested in buying Chelsea from Roman Abramovich are rushing to ensure their takeover proposals are ready before this week’s deadline to submit bids.

The Raine Group, the US bank tasked with handling the sale, have given potential bidders until Friday to make their offers and want the process to run smoothly given that delays could increase the chance of Chelsea falling into major financial trouble.

Chelsea, who are in a state of limbo after Abramovich was hit by government sanctions, fear they could go into administration if there is no change of ownership soon. Raine remain hopeful a deal could go through by the end of this month and, with time of the essence, bidders have been given a chance to look at the club’s latest set of accounts and their wage bill.

Groups who are serious about buying Chelsea are already doing due diligence. It is understood that as many as 200 groups have expressed an interest in doing a deal but Raine are conscious of the need to move quickly. Chelsea are operating under a restrictive special licence after sanctions were imposed on Abramovich and they are desperate to avoid delays, particularly as any deal requires final approval from the UK government.

Bidders are being told they will need to offer legal guarantees that they have enough funds to complete a deal. A consortium led by Hansjörg Wyss, Todd Boehly and Jonathan Goldstein has submitted an offer in the region of £2bn. There is also interest from Woody Johnson, the owner of the NFL’s New York Jets, and the Ricketts family, who own the MLB’s Chicago Cubs.

However, the British property tycoon Nick Candy needs to move quickly. He is planning to bid, but is still working on finalising his consortium. Sources close to the 49-year-old, who attended Chelsea’s win over Newcastle on Sunday, have said he has been approached by a number of investors and that he will not struggle to raise enough capital.

Nick Candy (centre), the possible new owner of Chelsea, during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on 13 March 2022 in London.
British property tycoon Nick Candy (centre) attended Chelsea’s win over Newcastle and is said to be ready to make an offer for the club. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

There have been reports the Saudi Media Group have submitted an offer of £2.7bn. The company is headed by Mohamed Alkhereiji and sources say there are no links to the government of Saudi Arabia. It remains to be seen if a bid from a Saudi company-based organisation would be waved through by the government and the Premier League. One sourcesaid a deal remains a long way off.

Chelsea have told supporters they are pushing the government to amend their operating licence to allow them to sell tickets. Fans who had not already done so by last Thursday are still waiting to find out if they can buy a ticket for Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Middlesbrough.

The club said: “Meetings are taking place daily in search of a resolution. In addition, the Premier League and FA are also discussing with the government the sporting integrity issues raised if they do not permit fans to attend.”

Chelsea fans have been urged to stop the “completely inappropriate” chanting of Abramovich’s name, the prime minister’s spokesman has said. Supporters expressed their backing for the Russian during the win over Newcastle.

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