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Evening Standard

Chelsea: Todd Boehly takeover on track for May completion despite new Government fears over sale

Todd Boehly is still on course to buy Chelsea, despite fresh concerns raised by ministers.

Whitehall sources claimed yesterday that the £4.25billion deal was at risk of falling through over concerns about the structure of the sale. There are still worries about where the funds could end up, despite Roman Abramovich vowing that all proceeds will go to charity.

But sources close to the deal have told Standard Sport that Boehly’s buyout remains on track to be completed by the May 31 deadline, when the special licence granted to Chelsea in light of Abramovich’s sanctions will expire.

There is belief that the Government are making a late attempt to get more control over the distribution of proceeds. A source close to Abramovich last night reiterated his determination to donate the funds to good causes.

“We are not concerned about the situation, and are still confident in the sale,” said the source. “There has never been any intention for Roman Abramovich to benefit from these funds.”

Todd Boehly is still on track to complete a £4.25bn buy out of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (AP)

The latest concerns from Government provided a fresh twist at a time when the sale is nearing completion. Sources spoke of “alarm” that Chelsea’s owner would let the deal collapse over a disagreement on the structure of the deal.

Standard Sport understands that the Government is concerned the Russian oligarch’s public commitment to donating proceeds via a foundation is not being matched by the legal or technical infrastructure to deliver them. The Government want to set up an escrow - or third-party - account to hold the funds so creditors of Abramovich’s other companies, Camberley or Fordstam, cannot get to the money.

Chelsea’s owner already promised to write off the £1.6bn in loans made to the club during his time in charge, which was another issue that raised concern within Whitehall in recent weeks.

Boehly has signed terms on the deal to buy the club, and the Premier League are confident the owners and directors’ test will be passed before the deadline. It is now a case of the Government signing off on it and issuing a licence to complete the sale.

US merchant bank Raine Group are also confident the deal is on track after selecting Boehly as the preferred bidder from a host of potential buyers.