A consortium led by Todd Boehly, part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, completed Monday's fast-tracked acquisition of Chelsea soccer club for 2.5 billion pounds ($3.2Billion). This was the highest ever price paid for a team in sports.
It marked the end to the 19-year trophy-filled tenure of Roman Abramovich. He was sanctioned by Britain for enabling Russian President Vladimir Putin's "brutal, barbaric invasion of Ukraine".
According to the government, the proceeds from the sale will go towards humanitarian projects in Ukraine.
Boehly said, "We are honored that we become the new custodians Chelsea Football Club," after attending some of the team’s recent games. "We are all in -- 100% -- every second of every match."
Since March, when Abramovich's assets had been frozen, Chelsea has been operating with a government license. Clearlake Capital and Boehly were among the 250 initial buyers. The club stated that 12 credible bids were received and then a final list of three bidders was created.
Chelsea stated that many people referred to the transaction as "unprecedented", and they were right. "Normally, a transaction like this takes nine months to a full year to complete. We completed it in three months."
After ensuring that Abramovich couldn't profit, the British government approved the sale last Wednesday. According to the government, the proceeds will be frozen and used to "support the relief and rebuilding efforts in Ukraine as quickly as possible."
"Today's ownership change marks a new chapter in Chelsea," said the government, "in the best interest of its fans, club and wider football community."
Boehly's group pledged to invest 1.75 billion pounds ($2.2 Billion) more in Chelsea's academy, men's, and women's teams, as well as infrastructure projects like the redevelopment and construction of Stamford Bridge.
Additionally, the consortium includes Mark Walter, Dodgers principal shareholder, and Hansjorg Wyss (Swiss billionaire), as well funding from Clearlake, a private equity firm.
"We are thrilled to commit the resources for Chelsea's leading position in English and international football," stated Jose E. Feliciano and Behdad Eghbali, Clearlake's cofounders. "And as an engine of football talent development."
Abramovich's extravagant investment paid for Chelsea's men’s team 21 trophies, including the Champions League in 2012. and 2021. It is also the reigning Club World Cup Champion. This season, the women's team won a double league-and cup title.
Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea manager, was praised by the club for his "patience" and support during the sale process. He can now make signings to strengthen the squad that qualified for the Champions League next season -- via a third place finish in the Premier League -- despite all the turmoil off the field.
Sanctions against Abramovich had a significant impact on the club's ability sell match tickets and to commit to new player spending.