Roman Abramovich has been disqualified as Chelsea manager by the Premier League board, but the sale of the club is expected to progress under government scrutiny.
Blues owner Abramovich’s sanction by the UK government on Thursday saw the Russian-Israeli billionaire’s UK assets frozen, including Chelsea, which stalled proceedings.
However, Chelsea have been given a new license to continue operations and the European champions are still locked in negotiations with the government to ease the restrictions.
Chelsea are now allowed to spend up to £900,000 on match fees, up from £500,000, following talks between club officials and the government.
Travel costs for away games remain at £20,000, but the club can receive prize money this season from the competitions they compete in, with further changes expected in the coming days.
The government has reiterated that it is willing to issue a new license to allow the sale of Chelsea.
A government spokesman said: “The government is open to a sale of the club and would consider applying for a license to allow this to happen.
“We are absolutely clear that such a license would not allow Roman Abramovich to benefit from the sale.”
New York merchant bank Raine Group has now assessed the terms of the license and agreed a path forward for the sale with the government, the PA News Agency understand.
The Premier League board’s decision to disqualify Abramovich is unlikely to have any real impact given that the sale process was already underway. It does not affect Chelsea’s ability to play games.
Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, pledging to write off the Blues’ £1.5billion debt and divert all proceeds to a new foundation to benefit war victims in Ukraine.
The 55-year-old has moved to sell Chelsea after 19 years in charge of Stamford Bridge, amid Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
The government sanctioned Abramovich after claiming to have proven his direct links to Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime, although the Chelsea owner has always denied any association.
The progress of the sale by the Raine Group means that suitors Chelsea can once again advance their bids to take control of the European and world champions of club play.
Abramovich was reportedly willing to work with government oversight on the sale, and now that Raine Group has made the appropriate checks, interested parties can proceed.
LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly remains well positioned for a buy, with Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts also in the running.
British property tycoon Nick Candy has also confirmed his strong interest in buying the Blues and is in the process of setting up a consortium.
Chelsea saw several credit cards temporarily frozen on Friday amid a frantic day of negotiations with the government over the terms of their new operating licence.
Downing Street chiefs are ready to change the terms of the license so that Chelsea can operate as normally as possible while ensuring Abramovich does not take advantage.
But Chelsea argue that Abramovich hasn’t benefited from regular operations anyway, and so are hoping for a speedy restoration of a number of currently restricted issues.
Chelsea cannot sell new tickets, leaving fans without season tickets or pre-purchased tickets unable to attend future matches.
The Blues cannot sell any merchandise, including new match schedules, which means sellers will not be able to work their shifts during Sunday’s Premier League clash against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.
The Chelsea players, meanwhile, are determined to show how committed they are when they take on Newcastle United on Sunday despite the uncertainty surrounding the club.
A source close to the locker room said Sky Sports News“Now is the time to stick together until the storm passes. The club is working hard to stabilize the situation and minimize the impact of what is happening.
“Now is not the time to speculate on your future. No one is thinking about the transfer market at such a difficult time for the club. The team is focused on football and staying strong together.”
Tuchel: Difficult to concentrate on football | We are privileged
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said sky sports he is “difficult to just focus on football” amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine and feels “very privileged” to be a Premier League manager.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was hit with UK government sanctions on Thursday morning – resulting in the freezing of the Russian-Israeli billionaire’s assets, plus “a ban on dealings with UK individuals and companies, a travel ban and transport sanctions”.
The sanctions aim to prevent the 55-year-old from earning money in the UK, but the government has granted Chelsea a special license to allow fixtures to be filled, staff to be paid and holders of existing tickets to attend matches.
However, Chelsea cannot offer new player or staff contracts, conduct transfer business or sell new match tickets as things stand.
Tuchel said after Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Norwich on Thursday he was “still happy” to be head coach but admitted he “couldn’t influence” the situation.
In an interview with Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves in front of his team great sunday clash with Newcastle, the German was asked what he had time to think about in difficult circumstances.
“Maybe living in the moment has never been so true because everything else seems very, very difficult,” he said.
“Understanding the situation is very difficult, seeing where it is going may be impossible. So in the end, we stick to the mantra of living in the moment and worshiping where we are.
“It’s not easy, but it’s out of our control. Sometimes it makes it harder, but sometimes it’s easier to accept, we can’t do anything in the moment, we’re constantly waiting and adapting.”