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26th Aug 2018

Chelsea respond to reports about Roman Abramovich putting the club up for sale

Simon Lloyd

Chelsea deny reports that the Abramovich era could soon be over at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues have rubbished a report in The Sunday Times  which claimed Roman Abramovich had put Chelsea up for sale, 15 years after the Russian billionaire bought the club.

The report claimed that an asking price of over £2bn has been set – considerably more than the current world record figure for a football club sale.

It also said that Abramovich has hired Raine Group, the same specialist US investment bank who helped Manchester City’s owners to sell a 13% stake to Chinese investors three years ago.

A report in The Mirror, however, claims that the club isn’t for sale ‘at the present time.’

Abramovich reportedly rejected a £2bn offer from Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man, earlier this year on the grounds that he believes he can receive a higher offer for the Premier League club.

It’s expected that Raine Group will turn to investors in China, the US and the Middle East over a possible sale of the west London club. While the report points out the slowdown in growth of income from the Premier League’s TV deal, it adds that the English top flight’s leading clubs remain attractive to investors – a point strengthened by the news that Fenway Sports Group, the American owners of Liverpool, rejected a £2bn takeover bid from Abu Dhabi earlier this year.

News of a potential sale follows the announcement that Chelsea had postponed plans for a new 60,000-seat stadium in May. The decision was made after Abramovich was unable to secure a new visa to work in the UK.

The Glazer family’s £790m takeover of Manchester United in 2005 currently stands as the most expensive football club takeover in history. Should Abramovich receive the kind of fee he is hoping to get for Chelsea, that record will be obliterated.

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