Abramovich asks Portugal to authorize sale of Chelsea

Lisbon, May 25 (EFE).- Portugal’s government confirmed Wednesday that sanctioned Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who holds Portuguese citizenship, requested authorization to sell Chelsea Football Club.

Officials are reviewing the request and will consult the European Commission, Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho told official news agency Lusa from Cabo Verde.

Abramovich can expect a timely response, Portugal’s top diplomat said.

The British government gave its approval early Wednesday for the sale of the Premier League club to a group led by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly.

Abramovich saw his assets in the United Kingdom frozen weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. But because he is a Portuguese citizen currently subject to European Union sanctions, Lisbon must also sign off on the deal.

The 55-year-old magnate put Chelsea up for sale before the UK or EU imposed sanctions and said that he would not seek repayment of the more than 1.5 billion pounds ($2 billion) he loaned the Blues since buying the London club for 100 million pounds back in 2003.

He also pledged that the proceeds from the sale would go to benefit victims of the war in Ukraine.

Early this month, the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, which has been running the club since Feb. 26, accepted a bid of 4.25 billion pounds ($5.33 billion) from Boehly and his associates, Clearlake Capital Group, L.P.; Hansjorg Wyss, and Mark Walter.

And the Premier League said Tuesday that the members of the consortium satisfied the requirements of the Owners’ and Directors’ Test.

Since the imposition of the sanctions on Abramovich, Chelsea has operated under a special license that has had a negative impact on revenue and prevented the club from signing new players or even renewing existing contracts. EFE pfm/dr

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