What Roman Abramovich’s 1.6bn debt request could mean for Chelsea

Roman Abramovich wants his £1.6 billion loan to Chelsea returned, making a sale nearly unlikely – and if not addressed, the Blues might be kicked out of the Premier League. All bets are off for Chelsea if he wants his money back.

Abramovich’s demand for repayment of his £1.6 billion debt makes it nearly difficult for the UK government to approve the club’s sale. Prime Minister Boris Johnson went on record saying that the Russian millionaire should not get a dime of the revenues. However, there are now worries that Abramovich would break his agreement to wipe off the money he has loaned Chelsea, causing the entire process to unravel.

That is a significant dilemma for the team, especially because it appeared that LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly’s group was set to purchase the Blues. The Raine Group, the US merchant bankers in charge of the complicated transaction, chose Boehly as the preferred bidder. His group is currently in a five-day period of exclusive discussions to finalize the agreement, but the subject of Abramovich’s loan is a major potential stumbling block.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who is presently sanctioned by the British government, first promised to repay the money. He also promised to put all of the money from the auction into a new foundation for Ukrainian war victims. However, this posed the potential of some money ending up in the hands of injured Russian soldiers, something the UK could not bear. The government must now decide whether to freeze the funds or allocate them to charity purposes.

However what happens to the loan is unknown, with politicians sticking to their view that no money should wind up in Abramovich’s pocket. This raises the possibility of the club’s demise, as its operating license expires on May 31. If Chelsea has not been sold by then, it will be unable to compete in the Premier League the following season. If that happens, it remains to be known what the future holds for the Stamford Bridge outfit.

However, with Abramovich and the UK government on the verge of a stalemate, whomever blinks first may decide if Chelsea has a future at all. According to those close to Abramovich, he has been warned that government penalties prevent him from repaying the debt as planned. However, each feasible workaround increases the likelihood that the money will end up back in his pocket. It’s all a nightmare for Thomas Tuchel and his players, who are as clueless as everyone else about what will happen next.

However, the entire tragic process is already causing harm to the club, whose primary income streams are still frozen as a result of sanctions.

Chelsea were helpless to stop Antonio Rudiger from leaving the club as soon as they were advised they couldn’t offer new contracts to players.

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