Chelsea bid deadline closes with multiple last minute offers and an all-fan proposal

March 21 – A British-led consortium fronted by Chelsea supporters has confirmed that it has made a bid to buy the club.

The deadline for prospective purchasers expired on Friday and the UK government will now access the various bids following oligarch owner Roman Abramovich putting the club up for sale after being sanctioned for his links with Vladimir Putin.

A London-based asset management firm, Centricus, has teamed up with hedge fund manager Jonathan Lourie of Cheyne Capital, and Talis Capital’s Bob Finch, formerly majority shareholder of FC Nordsjaelland in Denmark, to submit a bid.

Lourie, Finch and Centricus’ co-founder Nizar Al-Bassam and CEO Garth Ritchie are all long-standing season-ticket holders at Chelsea and reportedly made their proposal on Friday to Raine Group, who are organising the sale.

“We oversee £40 billion of assets,” Al-Bassam was quoted as saying on Sunday.  “There’s a clock [on finding a new owner for Chelsea] ticking because the club is bleeding money at a faster rate than it should be while there’s uncertainty there.

“We’ve tried to focus on a proposal which aligns the ownership of the club with long-term investors with a deep history with the club. If you look at the proposal we put forward, keeping it an entirely British finance proposal is core to that.

“Our bid is all domestic, we don’t have any foreign investors so we’re using domestic capital which I think is quite noteworthy. We all attend the matches with our kids. I don’t think any of us are coming purely because we’re fans or purely because we love football.”

One issue for Chelsea is that because none of sale proceeds can go into Abramovich’s pocket, he may attempt to veto bids from the United States and Britain because both countries have sanctioned oligarchs from his homeland. 

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