The sale of Chelsea Football Club has hit a significant snag over fears owner Roman Abramovich has made a u-turn on his promise to write off the £1.6billion he is owed, according to the UK Times.
After a bidding process which lasted almost two months, a consortium headed by LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly was picked as the preferred bidder.
US merchant bank, Raine Group, have given the Boehly consortium an exclusivity period of around 5-7 days to complete the purchase.
But now the deal has taken another twist.
When announcing his decision to sell Chelsea, Abramovich had said he “would not be asking for any loans to be repaid”, but it is believed the Russian’s position has now changed.
Late last week, Chelsea told both the government and rival bidding groups that they wanted to restructure the way the club is being sold with debts of £1.6bn paid off to Jersey-based company Camberley International Investments, which appears to have links to Abramovich.
This has created a major issue, with the UK government having only approved the sale of Chelsea under the condition that Abramovich does not profit in any way.
Ministers had also been under the impression that any proceeds from the sale would be given over to the government, who would then use them to help victims of the war in Ukraine.
If Abramovich has effectively reneged on his promise to write off the £1.6bn in loans he has pumped into the club, it would not only make Chelsea an infinitely less attractive proposition for prospective buyers but it will prolong the sale process even further and create massive questions over the future of the club.