With acquisition by American billionaires, a new era for Chelsea football club

The Russian oligarch Roman Abramovitch, sanctioned due to the war in Ukraine and forced to sell the London club, will not receive money on the transaction of 2.9 billion euros.


The weekend was sour for supporters of the Chelsea football club. On the field, Saturday, May 7, the mediocre draw (2-2) conceded in its stamford bridge stadium against Wolverhampton came to highlight a end of the semi -inted season, after elimination in the quarterfinals of the Champions League Against Real Madrid on April 12. In the stands, the same day, was the likely new owner of the club. If the British government and the authorities of the Premier League give their agreement, which seems almost certain, Todd Boehly, an American billionaire, will be the new owner of Chelsea, who will replace Roman Abramovitch.

The eyes hidden by dark glasses, not losing a smile despite the disappointing result, he knows that he will have to convince supporters who loved the Russian oligarch. On Saturday, the club announced that an agreement had been reached for its acquisition. Mr. Boehly is the man put forward, but it is in fact a consortium coming mainly from the United States. The Clearlake Capital Investment Fund will put the majority of money, while Mr. Boehly invests alongside Mark Walter, another American billionaire.

The two men have known each other for a long time, and they are together co-owners of 27 % of Los Angeles Lakers, a basketball team. The Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss is also present in the consortium. Their Chelsea acquisition is made for 2.5 billion pounds, to which is added the promise of investing an additional 1.75 billion in the club, a total of 4.25 billion pounds (4.97 billion ‘euros). M. Abramovitch, passible de sanctions après l’invasion russe de l’Ukraine, le 24 février, ne touchera en principe pas un centime sur la vente du club. Le produit de la vente sera mis sur un compte gelé, et l’argent doit progressivement être distribué à des associations caritatives.

Les supporters prudents

L’ère de l’oligarque russe se referme ainsi, deux décennies après son arrivée dans le football anglais, en 2003. Au total, l’homme a essuyé une perte d’environ 2 milliards de livres, à laquelle s’ajoute la saisie du club. Ne donnant guère d’interviews, il n’a jamais expliqué le vrai motif de cette générosité : volonté de laver son image ? Caprice de milliardaire ? Les fans ne se sont guère embarrassés de telles questions, et M. Abramovitch est devenu extrêmement populaire. Il faut dire qu’il a transformé ce club sans palmarès pour en faire un géant du football, avec cinq titres de Premier League et deux en Ligue des Champions, pour ne citer que les plus prestigieux. La guerre en Ukraine a tout changé.

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/Media reports.