Winning bid to take over Chelsea will be presented to the government in three weeks’ time, say sale organisers Raine Group, leaving the £3bn deal to succeed Roman Abramovich to be completed by the end of April

  • Four shortlisted bidders remain in the process to buy Chelsea next month 
  • The winning bid to take over the club will be presented in just three weeks’ time 
  • Government keen on quick sale after sanctions imposed on Roman Abramovich 
  • They may be approached to issue a licence to green light the sale on April 18 

The winning bid to take over Chelsea from Roman Abramovich will be presented to the government and the Premier League in three weeks’ time, according to the organisers of the sale, Raine Group.

There are four shortlisted bidders remaining in the process, and they – as reported by Sportsmail – will now be expected to submit detailed, costed plans for how they intend to expand Stamford Bridge.

Parties involved in the race have also recently received confirmation that they can increase their offers for the club, with merchant bank Raine, who are advising Chelsea with the sale, permitting improved bids. 

After Abramovich was sanctioned in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, the government has prioritised a quick sale, largely due to the financial restrictions imposed on the Blues as a result of the situation involving their outgoing owner.

And it has now been revealed by Sky News that the government may be approached to issue a licence to push through the sale during the week commencing April 18. 

The same outlet says that a letter with information about the current developments was sent out to the four contenders, with the change of ownership at the club now creeping ever closer and set to be handed the green light by the end of next month. 

The winning bid to take over Chelsea from Roman Abramovich (pictured) will be presented to the government and the Premier League in three weeks’ time, reports say

Raine, Chelsea and the government want the sale concluded by the end of April, Sportsmail has also reported in recent days. 

Abramovich initially wanted £3billion at the start of the process, and the club are now set to be sold closer to that figure, it is understood.

Once a preferred bidder is selected, the government will then have to give the all clear before the winners can take the Premier League’s owners and directors test. 

Richard Masters, the chief executive of the Premier League, has said that the bidder will be scrutinised under the test as quickly as possible. He even pointed out a previous club takeover, which was approved inside ten days. 

With around five weeks to go until the expected sale, shortlisted parties now have a clear time-frame to clear up any potential snags around their proposals.

LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly’s consortium is one of the parties shortlisted by Raine

The bid from the Ricketts family has been identified as a potential suitor (above: Tom Ricketts)

They were informed by Raine that they must commit at least £1billion to invest in the club in the future to continue in the process to replace Abramovich. 

Sir Martin Broughton, the former British Airways chairman, and Lord Boe are fronting a bid which is believed to have the financial backing of Josh Harris and Dave Blitzer.

A consortium headed by Todd Boehly, part-owner of the LA Dodgers, also remains in the race and is a leading contender. Jonathan Goldstein is involved in this bid. 

The Ricketts family’s bid has attracted concerns from Chelsea’s supporters’ trust over controversial comments made by Joe Ricketts, but is also still in play.

Meanwhile, the final contender is a bid led by Stephen Pagliuca, an American private equity billionaire. He owns the Boston Celtics and Atalanta in Serie A.  

Sir Martin Broughton’s bid involves Crystal Palace shareholders David Blitzer and Josh Harris

The new deadline gives Harris (left) and Blitzer (right) time to clear up any potential issues

Raine have also informed the groups that they can meet with key staff at Chelsea, including manager Thomas Tuchel and director Marina Granovskaia, and tour the club’s facilities as part of their due diligence process. 

However, a number of the figures involved in the consortiums now have just over a month to divest or dilute their shares in rival clubs, according to the ownership rules set out by both the Premier League and UEFA. 

That means Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who own an 18 per cent stake in Crystal Palace, as well as Pagliuca will have to take action over the coming days and weeks. 

Their shares would have to be lowered below the 10 per cent threshold, with Pagliuca particularly under the spotlight due to his 55 per cent holding in Atalanta.

A host of bidders were eliminated from the process last week. Among those eliminated were lifelong Chelsea supporter Nick Candy, Woody Johnson, the former US ambassador to the UK, and the Saudi Media Group. 

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