The Department of Culture, Media and Sport have refuted claims that they are happy with the four remaining contenders hoping to buy Chelsea, citing that they have no role in selecting a preferred bidder in the process. Groups led by Todd Boehly, the Ricketts family, Martin Broughton and Stephen Pagliuca all remain in contention to takeover the club from Roman Abramovich with a first choice expected to emerge this week.
However, a spokesperson for DCMS has asserted that the only role the government will play is in amending the special licence that Chelsea are currently operating under due to the sanctions placed on Abramovich, to authorise the sale of the club. The licence has prevented business as usual at Stamford Bridge, placing limits on the money they can spend on travelling to and hosting games, selling merchandise, including selling tickets to home fans for Premier League games, and preventing any new contracts or transfers being agreed.
Raine Group have been tasked with facilitating Chelsea’s sale with the new deadline for final offers reported to be on April 14th. After a preferred bidder has been chosen, the proposed takeover will be presented to the government on April 18th with the hope of the licence being amended. The DCMS looked to make it clear they have no role in choosing a successful bidder however.
Reports had stated that the government were happy with all four remaining bidders and would be prepared to push through the sale of the club to any of the remaining parties. However, that has been refuted by the government.
A spokesperson said: “PA’s reporting is inaccurate and wrong. The Government has no role in establishing a preferred bidder for Chelsea Football Club. Assessments of owners and due diligence are a matter for the club and the Premier League, not the government. Our role is to consider an application for an amended licence that authorises a sale of the club when it comes forward with a preferred bidder.”
As revealed by football.london, the government is unlikely to impose any hard conditions apart from ensuring Roman Abramovich does not receive any money from a sale. That means the decision to offer the club’s supporters a “golden share” or added representation will likely be at the discretion of the new owners, although the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust have been lobbying the groups and in Westminster.