The British government approved the sale of Chelsea with Abramovich sanctions

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LONDON (AP) – Roman Abramovich’s 19 -year ownership of Chelsea has ended after the British government approved the sale of a Premier League club by a Russian oligarch that sanctioned a consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers division owner Todd Boehly.

The government must ensure that Abramovich, who was approved for ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the invasion of Ukraine, does not profit from the club sales he made, an investment that became one of the most successful in European football.

The FIFA Club World Cup winners and 2021 European champions will be sold for £ 2.5 billion ($ 3.1 billion) – the highest price for a sports team – with Premier League approval given on Tuesday.

Chelsea have been operating under a government license since Abramovich’s assets were frozen in March and expired on May 31.

“Because of the sanctions imposed on people linked to Putin and the bloody invasion of Ukraine, the long -term future of the club can only be guaranteed in the new owners,” said British Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries. “We are satisfied the outcome of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or any other sanctioned person.”

There have been weeks of discussions between officials from Chelsea and the government about ensuring Abramovich’s bail is not financially viable. The proceeds of the sale will go into a frozen account before going to charity.

“We will now begin the process to ensure the proceeds of the sale are used for humanitarian causes in Ukraine, supporting the victims of the war,” the British government said in a statement. “Today’s move will secure the future of this important cultural asset. And protect the wider football fans and community.

The delay in approving the sale was based on the fate of the £ 1.6 billion ($ 2 billion) loaned to Chelsea by Abramovich since 2003 that provided funds to build a men’s squad that won 21 trophies during his tenure. Government assurances were required from Abramovich, who did not condemn the Russian war in Ukraine, about the write -off of debts related to the controlled company.

Boehly has started attending Chelsea matches in the past few weeks since the club agreed to sell to a consortium that also has Dodgers main owner Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, and funding from private equity firm Clearlake Capital.

It was a hot-contested sale process, with four groups at the end of the run, before Boehly’s group was selected on May 7 after guaranteeing a 1.75 billion pound ($ 2.2 billion) investment in the team.

Chelsea fans have been accustomed to spending money on Abramovich, by spending a net of more than $ 1 billion for the player.

Chelsea’s ability to sell match tickets and a commitment to dump new players has been hampered by sanctions but now the new ownership is set to provide an investment for manager Thomas Tuchel to strengthen the squad.

Of course, Chelsea will play in the Champions League next season after a third finish in the Premier League last Sunday despite the turmoil outside the field. The women’s team won the league and trophy twice with a squad funded by Abramovich’s investment.

Chelsea only won a male title once – in 1955 – when Abramovich bought the club in 2003. Aided by valuable players, the club won the Premier League two years later and added four more since then, most recently in 2017.

Investment is needed in Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have the smallest and most dated stadium of the most successful clubs in the Premier League, with plans to rebuild the 41,000-capacity space held by Abramovich in 2018 as English-Russian diplomatic tensions deepen.

The $ 3.1 billion cost from Chelsea exceeds the $ 2.3 billion paid in 2018 to the Carolina Panthers NFL.

As well as owning the Dodgers MLB division, Boehly also owns minority stakes in the Los Angeles Lakers NBA and Los Angeles Sparks WNBA.

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