According to multiple reports out of the United Kingdom, the process of Chelsea FC changing hands is nearing its completion. Todd Boehly, part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, L.A. Lakers and L.A. Sparks, has successfully led a consortium to buy the storied southwest London Premier League club.
The Todd Boehly led consortium, according to Sky News, have “offered a total price that was slightly higher than the £4.25bn publicly pledged by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the chemicals tycoon who tried to gatecrash the auction on Friday.” With Boehly, his partner Clearlake Capital, and his cronies now in advanced talks, and having read the preferred, exclusive bidding phase, it appears that Chelsea F.C. will now change hands for over $5 billion.
Roman Abramovich ? pic.twitter.com/O0k1YABkAo
— Frank Khalid (@FrankKhalidUK) April 28, 2022
Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch with very close ties to Vladimir Putin, was forced into selling the club once the threat of sanctions by the United Kingdom government loomed. It just goes to show you how much life is a “Sliding Doors” scenario, where once a single domino falls, a chain reaction starts.
Once Putin commenced his illegal war in Ukraine, and a global backlash against him began, all of those close to him were set to feel the financial pain.
New York-based merchant bank Raine Group is overseeing the bidding and sale process. Earlier in the process, it looked somewhat likely that Chelsea might be sold to a different American billionaire, who own a different Major League Baseball club. The Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, did make the short list, with a bid that commanded a ton of worldwide media attention.
However, it was almost all negative attention, as the Ricketts’ baggage and mismanagement of the Cubs inspired a backlash among Chelsea supporters.
Today, Todd Boehly and Clearlake are the winners in this scenario. But REAL WINNER here, ultimately, are the people who will eventually receive charity from Abramovich, IF he keeps his pledge to donate the sale’s proceeds to the victims of this tragic, horrid Russia-Ukraine war.
Obviously, this pledge will need to be monitored and enforced, to make sure the money goes to the right people.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”