‘There’s a vacuum here – if we’re not careful – which is going to impact on the players’: Chelsea bidder Seb Coe warns the club must sort a takeover quickly, with the Blues at risk of not being able to compete in the Premier League next season
- Chelsea’s takeover hit a snag this week, leaving the club’s future uncertain
- Roman Abramovich will not write off club’s debts, backtracking on his promise
- Lord Seb Coe – one of the bidders – said it was vital a sale happened quickly
- The Olympic legend fears there is a ‘vacuum’ which could hurt the players
Lord Sebastian Coe – one of the bidders to buy Chelsea – has urged the club to thrash out their takeover as quickly as possible after their sale hit a snag this week – leaving fears over their ability to compete in the Premier League next season.
Chelsea’s turbulent few months dished up a new chaper on Tuesday when it was reported owner Roman Abramovich was backtracking on his promise to write off the club’s debts of £1.6billion.
Last week the club informed Whitehall – and the three remaining interested parties – that they wanted to restructure the way the Premier League club is being sold, leading to concerns from the Government that Abramovich could benefit from the sale of the Blues.
Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK Government earlier this year due to his apparent links to Russian president Vladimir Putin, who has led the shocking invasion of Ukraine.
Any scenario where Abramovich is in line to profit from the takeoever would be a breach of the sanctions and cause the sale of the club to be delayed – which would place Chelsea’s future in serious jeopardy.
Lord Coe – who is involved in Sir Martin Broughton’s consortium to buy the club – wants the best for Chelsea as a lifelong fan but fears any further delay to the sale could have grave consequences at Stamford Bridge.
Lord Sebastian Coe – one of the bidders for Chelsea – has urged a quick sale of the club after Roman Abramovich backtracked on his promise to rewrite Chelsea’s £1.6bn debts
Chelsea’s takeover saga hit a snag after revelations that the club want to restructure the sale
He told LBC: ‘I joined Martin’s bid with one simple proposition – I’m a Chelsea fan of more than 50 years. I was in the ground in 1967, I was born near the ground and still have a house there.
‘For me it was always about the club having the best possible ownership, one that was recognising one very simple fact- that is you don’t really own a club, you’re the stewards of a community sports organisation. At this moment the one thing I hope we end up with is a swift set of solutions to this.
‘As someone who’s been involved in sport, there is a vaccum here if we’re not careful, which is going to impact on the players – it’s certainly going to impact on the coaching. To be sitting in a stadium where you’re regularly 10,000 fans down because you can’t sell seats – there is a problem here.
‘The rest of the decisions have to be made properly, there is a process and this is a one-off. You don’t see clubs being sold in these circumstances so Government will have to be really clear what it wants out of this.’
Coe has warned of a ‘vacuum’ which could impact on Chelsea players and coaching staff amid concerns over their ability to compete next season
Coe – a lifelong Chelsea fan – believes there is a ‘problem’ in the takeover and said the Government must be ‘clear’ in what solution it wants
Lord Coe and Broughton had promised to ‘invest in the club to keep it at the top of European football’, vowing an ‘immediate commitment to invest in players, new team facilities, and new commercial opportunities’.
Their consortium is not expected to be selected as the preferred bidder – with LA Dodgers chief Todd Boehly and his American firm the favourite to seal a £3.5bn deal for the club.
A last-gasp £4.25bn bid from Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also set to be taken seriously should Boehly’s offer fall through, but the new uncertainty surrounding the club is leading to question marks over their immediate future.
Todd Boehly (right) is the frontrunner but Sir Jim Ratcliffe (left) is still holding out hope after submitting a £4.25bn bid
The restructuring to the sale would see Chelsea’s parent company Fordstam Ltd paying off the debt to a Jersey-based company Camberley International Investments, which appears to be linked to Abramovich – leading to red flags from the Government and jeapardising the sale.
The current operating licence for Chelsea expires on May 31 and any further delays could have serious consequences on the club’s ability to compete in the Premier League and UEFA competition next season.
Coe says that his main worries for the club are as a fan and has urged a ‘resolution’ as fast as possible and for the club to ‘land in the right hands’.
‘I go back to being a fan. Fans like me want a resolution to this but they want to make sure the club lands in the right hands and that the club isn’t lumbered with debt for the next 50 years.’