Chelsea loses money, warns new bidders with $53bn in assets – Reuters

Four Chelsea supporters are involved in a consortium to buy the Premier League giants and have warned that the ‘time is ticking’ on a deal.

Four Chelsea supporters are behind a multi-million dollar bid to buy the Champions League champions and have promised to show “ exemplary custody on the Premier League side if his bid to succeed Roman Abramovich as owner is successful.

Centricus, a global investment firm believed to have funds of more than $38 billion, is led by co-founder Nizar Al-Bassam and CEO Garth Ritchie.

Both men are longtime Blues supporters and were joined by Cheyne Capital hedge fund manager Jonathan Lourie and Talis Capital’s Bob Finch in a bid submitted before Friday’s bid deadline.

New York investment bank Raine Group, which is overseeing the sale of the club, is expected to pare all offers down to a list of the three most attractive offers before the final sale is confirmed.

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Centricus tried to appeal to Raine by saying his goal is to keep the current commercial and sporting elements of the Chelsea business.

“We oversee 40 billion pounds [more than $53 billion] in assets”, Al-Bassam told MailOnline on Sunday, adding that the group was working with football’s governing bodies, UEFA and FIFA.

“There is a clock [on finding a new owner for Chelsea] scoring because the club is bleeding money at a faster rate than it should be while there is uncertainty there.

“I had the same seats in the Tambling Suite [at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium] and the same seats in the West Stand for 10 years. I am worried about the staff there when I see this commotion.

“We tried to focus on a proposal that would align ownership of the club with long-term investors with a long history with the club. If you look at the proposal that we have tabled, it is essential to keep it as a UK funding proposal. is.

“There are many very successful clubs financed by international investors, but in this case, after two decades of outstanding club success, the club has a fan base with the resources to support the club and maintain that success. That’s what’s so unique about it. proposal.

“We have looked at the club in the past. There were times when there were rumors that the club was available, but eventually all those plans were dropped.

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“Our offer is completely national, we do not have foreign investors, so we use national capital, which I think is quite remarkable. We all attend games with our children.

“I don’t think any of us come just because we’re fans or just because we love football.

“It’s really driven by business opportunities. But it is a long-term investment. »

Centricus underlined its long-term commitment in a statement intended to “continued success” for the third place in the Premier League.

“The intention is to maintain and support the existing direction in both the commercial and sports activities of the CFC Group”, they have said. “We intend to maintain the existing strategic direction. »

The group said Chelsea was operating under “Tough Conditions” and stressed the importance of a “Smooth and stable ownership transition” along with an open dialogue.

“Centricus would focus on ensuring that [Chelsea continue] to achieve sporting excellence, a high level of community support, transparent governance, financial viability, fan engagement and exemplary management.” they added.

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Ken Bates (second from left) and Roman Abramovich (second from right) © Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images
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Centricus is also committed to “maintain an elite global brand” while continuing to invest significantly in the Chelsea women’s team, the club’s successful youth academy and its Chelsea charitable foundation.

Chelsea has been for sale since March 2, when Abramovich confirmed his intention to sell six days after Russia’s attack on Ukraine began.

The businessman was sanctioned in the United Kingdom on March 10, and the conservative government of Boris Johnson claimed that Abramovich had direct ties to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Abramovich has always denied doing anything to justify the punishment.

The 55-year-old’s assets in the UK, including Chelsea, were frozen and the club was ordered to operate under the terms of a government license.

Le club souhaite que le gouvernement reconsideres las mesures potentiellement paralysantes, which includes an injunction against the sale of billets and dealers, the conclusion of nouveaux contrats avec les joueurs, de signer et de penser plus $26,000 in voyages pour les matches à l ‘Exterior.

Abramovich is banned from profiting from the sale and had previously announced that a $2bn loan to the club was off.

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© Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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Several other offers for Chelsea are believed to remain on the table. Todd Boehly, co-owner of Major League Baseball’s LA Dodgers, the Ricketts family that owns the rival Chicago Cubs and British real estate mogul Nick Candy are involved in some of the potential deals, as is Saudi Media Group.

The government is said to be willing to agree to a quick sale subject to proof of Premier League ownership.

“For us, you just can’t buy a club and expect to sell it in five or 10 years.” dit Al-Bassam.

“The expectation of the fans, the regulators, whether it be the FA, the Premier League or the government, would be not to sell this club for the next five or 10 years.

“So it should be a very, very long-term commitment. The commitment around a stadium expansion or a new stadium is a half-decade commitment and must be made in consultation with the community, the council and the fans. »

Dennis Alvarado

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