Chelsea sale in doubt as Roman Abramovich demands ‘repayment’ of £1.6bn loan

The sanctioned Russian owner is seeking debt linked to the club’s parent company to be paid to a Jersey-based company, according to reports, just four days after Todd Boehly’s consortium began exclusive takeover talks.

Potential new Chelsea owner could make Abramovich look ‘relatively poor’

Roman Abramovich is considering backtracking on his vow to write off Chelsea’s £1.6billion debt as part of the club’s sale, according to a Times report, although the takeover appears to be nearing its end.

Last week, club officials told the government they wanted to restructure the way the club is being sold, according to the report, with a demand that debt linked to parent company Fordstam be repaid to a Jersey-based company called Camberley International Investments.

Fordstam’s latest accounts state that “Camberley International Investments Ltd provides funding to Fordstam Ltd and its subsidiaries as required to enable the group to continue in business”. But it is unclear who ultimately owns Camberley International Investments Ltd, a company established in August 2020

A spokeswoman for Abramovich did not respond to a request for comment. No government spokesperson either.

When the club went up for sale in early March, Abramovich said in a statement that “I will not be asking for any loan repayments”. He also said that all proceeds from a sale would go to victims of the war in Ukraine.

The latest development comes four days after it was revealed that the consortium led by American businessman Todd Boehly had entered into exclusive talks with Chelsea over a record-breaking deal for the sale of a sports team.

Two other shortlisted groups, led by former British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton and American Stephen Pagliuca, have been told they are no longer considered viable future owners.

Roman Abramovich has owned Chelsea since 2003. (Photo by AMA/Corbis via Getty Images)

This news broke two hours after Britain’s richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, announced he would submit a bid to buy the club which, in total, would be worth more than £4billion. But the fact that his bid came nine weeks into a process run by US investment bank Raine Group has raised eyebrows.

Ratcliffe spent the weekend meeting with stakeholders involved at Chelsea, including the supporters’ trust, and could step in if Boehly’s bid collapses.

A deal must be reached by the end of May, when the operating license created by the government when sanctioning Abramovich over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to expire. Last week, Minister Nadine Dorries warned that time was running out.

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