Chelsea enters a new era with the takeover of the football club by American billionaires

It’s been a bittersweet weekend for supporters of Chelsea Football Club. In the field, Saturday May 7, the mediocre draw (2-2) conceded in its Stamford Bridge stadium against Wolverhampton underlined a lackluster end to the season, after an elimination in the quarter-finals of the Champions League against Real Madrid on April 12. In the stands, on the same day, was the probable new owner of the club. If the British government and the Premier League authorities agree, which seems almost certain, Todd Boehly, an American billionaire, will be the new owner of Chelsea, replacing Roman Abramovich.

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

The two men have known each other for a long time, and together they are co-owners of 27% of the Los Angeles Lakers, a basketball team. The Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss is also present in the consortium. Their acquisition of Chelsea is for 2.5 billion pounds, plus the promise to invest an additional 1.75 billion pounds in the club, making a total of 4.25 billion pounds (4.97 billion pounds). euros). Mr. Abramovich, liable to sanctions after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, will in principle not receive a penny on the sale of the club. The proceeds of the sale will be placed in a frozen account, and the money is to be gradually distributed to charities.

The Cautious Supporters

The era of the Russian oligarch thus closes, two decades after his arrival in English football in 2003. In total, the man suffered a loss of around 2 billion pounds, to which is added the seizure of the club. Not giving many interviews, he never explained the real reason for this generosity: the desire to clean up his image? Billionaire whim? Fans hardly bothered with such questions, and Mr. Abramovich became extremely popular. It must be said that he transformed this club without awards to make it a football giant, with five Premier League titles and two in the Champions League, to name only the most prestigious. The war in Ukraine changed everything.

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