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Men's Football Abramovich's lawyers and the government still in talks over Chelsea sale

THE government is yet to agree any terms on the sale of Chelsea, the PA news agency reported today.

Lawyers for Roman Abramovich and the government are understood to remain in talks on how to handle the Stamford Bridge club’s £1.5 billion debt to the Chelsea owner.

Abramovich has wanted to write off that debt, but government sanctions over the owner’s connections with Russian President Vladimir Putin blocked that process amid frozen accounts.

The waters have been muddied by Chelsea’s murky debt arrangements, which involve a Jersey-registered firm, out of reach of British regulations  — and Whitehall chiefs are understood to have raised repeated concerns that Abramovich would renege on his pledge to waive those loans. They are understood to be seeking legally binding assurances that Abramovich will in no way benefit from Chelsea’s sale.

Abramovich’s lawyers are understood to be confident that their latest proposals will prove acceptable to Whitehall — and bearing in mind the current incumbent of No 10’s record on ripping up the rule book, why wouldn’t they be?

Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly struck a purchase agreement to buy Chelsea for £4.25bn earlier this month, after an ultra-competitive and uniquely public race to buy the club. The US magnate met Chelsea managers Thomas Tuchel and Emma Hayes last week and will now hope to complete the takeover with little further delay.

The Premier League must give the final sign-off on Boehly’s consortium via its less-than-stringent owners’ and directors’ tests before the government issues a new licence to allow the sale to complete.

Government approval for the sale should also give the green light for Abramovich’s plan for the sale proceeds to be donated to a new charitable foundation.

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