Roman Abramovich makes $880m demand before selling Chelsea as bids roll in

Roman Abramovich has made a late, eye-watering demand before giving up control of Chelsea that will hit prospective buyers hard.

The final three bidders interested in purchasing Chelsea will have to stump up an extra $880 million to buy the English Premier League club at the demands of Roman Abramovich.

Sky News has reported the trio of consortiums found out in the last two days that extra funds will be required.

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This comes just days before an announcement of the preferred bidder is set to be revealed.

The Sun reports $1.7 billion could be handed to charities as a result of the sale, making it one of the biggest donations in British history, and the cost of buying Chelsea could end up being $4.4 billion.

The Athletic reports Abramovich made the $880 million request during meetings with the various bidders, with the extra money to go towards a foundation he wants to set up for victims of the Ukraine war.

The UK Government has said Abramovich will not receive any of the money generated from the sale as the Russian oligarch is sanctioned for his close ties to Vladimir Putin.

The Chelsea bidders being considered are consortiums led by Todd Boehly, Sir Martin Broughton and Stephen Pagliuca.

Boehly owns Major League Baseball franchise the Los Angeles Dodgers while Broughton’s bid is backed by private equity veterans Josh Harris and David Blitzer — who co-own Crystal Palace and NBA team the Philadelphia 76ers — as well as F1 star Lewis Hamilton and tennis legend Serena Williams, who have reportedly each pledged around $18 million to buy Chelsea.

Hamilton’s move is a surprise given he is a lifelong supporter of arch-rivals Arsenal, while Williams is already an investor in Los Angeles’ Angel City FC, which plays in America’s National Women’s Soccer League.

Pagliuca co-owns Italian side Atalanta and basketball team the Boston Celtics. That bid is backed by the True Blues, a fan-led group involving Chelsea legend John Terry, who wants to buy 10 per cent of the club.

American investment group Raine are in charge of selling Chelsea. They have said the club could be worth nearly $9 billion in five years.

Abramovich is one of many oligarchs to have assets seized and finances frozen since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and has been forced to sell Chelsea without the ability to pocket any of the profits.

Abramovich, who purchased the football giant in 2003, is reportedly thought to have lost an estimated $7.6 billion as a result of sanctions but is still worth around $9 billion, according to Forbes.

This story first appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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