The LA Dodgers owner said he should sign a deal to buy Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea football team

A consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly has signed a deal with Premier League soccer team Chelsea from sanctioned Russian-Israeli oligarch Roman Abramovich, the Guardian newspaper reported on Friday.

Boehly has joined forces with Dodgers co-owner Mark Walter, British-Jewish businessman Jonathan Goldstein, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and US investment firm Clearlake Capital.

Goldstein, a property developer, is a former head of the London-based head of the Jewish Leadership Council and, ironically, a fan of Chelsea’s London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, a team traditionally associated with the Jewish community.

The deal is subject to Premier League and UK government approval.

The report comes amid fears that Abramovich has failed to live up to his pledge to provide a £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) loan to Chelsea. He has since denied the reports he is asking for a payback for the Chelsea sale.

The Russian billionaire put the Premier League club up for sale on March 2, insisting he would not repay the loan accumulated during his 19-year tenure and that any proceeds from the club’s sale would go to help victims of the war Ukraine.

Abramovich was then sanctioned by the British government and the European Union for his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, forcing Chelsea to operate under a special license.

That license expires on May 31, with fears over the club’s future if a sale doesn’t take place before the end of the month.

Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly is seen looking at batter Mookie Betts during a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers Saturday, April 30, 2022 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The Times reported Tuesday that Abramovich claimed the sanctions prevented him from writing off that debt.

Other reports suggest that Abramovich had asked bidders to add an extra £500m to their bids to help victims of the war.

“Mr. Abramovich’s intentions to donate the proceeds of the Chelsea sale to charity have not changed,” a spokesman for Abramovich said in a statement released on Chelsea’s website.

“Mr. Abramovich has not asked for a loan to be repaid – such suggestions are dead wrong – as are suggestions that Mr. Abramovich raised the club’s price at the last minute.

Jonathan Goldstein, head of the Jewish Leadership Council

“However, as part of Mr Abramovich’s goal of finding a good manager for Chelsea FC, he has encouraged every bidder throughout this process to commit to investments in the club – including the academy, the women’s team and the necessary refurbishment of the stadium as well maintaining the work of the Chelsea Foundation.”

The statement added that the funds from the sale would be frozen and “subject to regulatory proceedings.”

However, Abramovich’s goal is for the money to go to a newly formed charitable foundation.

Chelsea are set to fetch a world record price for a sports club of around £2.5bn.

The American bank Raine has initiated the process of selling the club.

Earlier on Thursday, the Chelsea Supporters Trust (CST) called for a swift and transparent sale to secure the club’s future.

“It is important that the sale of Chelsea is completed quickly and transparently,” the CST said in a statement.

“We call on the current owners, Raine and the UK Government to ensure this happens.

“Any delay in this process could jeopardize Chelsea’s future – all parties must ensure the sustainability and future of the club is secured.”

Under the terms of their license, Chelsea are currently unable to offer existing players new contracts or sign players from other clubs.

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