See why UK govt opens backdoor to Abramovich to fund Chelsea up to £30m

The government has updated the terms of its operating licence to allow ticket sales and permit a £30m payment to cover cashflow issues

Chelsea’s cashflow fears have eased after the government amended the terms of the club’s special licence so the Roman Abramovich-owned parent company Fordstam can transfer £30million to cover operating costs.

Last night the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) released a statement saying that rules around ticket sales would be relaxed, allowing away fans to attend Stamford Bridge and for Chelsea supporters to attend away games, but omitted another change within the licence that specifies Fordstam can “pay the club up to £30,000,000 in respect of cashflow or liquidity issues.”

That will ease concerns within the club as they await an update from the Raine Group around the selling process. Several prospective buyers were expecting to hear an update from the New York-based bank on Monday but as of Wednesday night were still in the dark. An update could arrive today.

Confirming the ticketing changes which will see money ordinarily intended for Chelsea go to the Premier League, sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: “The government has today made alterations to the licence to Chelsea football club so that fans will be able to access tickets to away matches, cup games and women’s fixtures.

“I would like to thank fans for their patience while we have engaged with the football authorities to make this possible. Since Roman Abramovich was added to the UK’s sanctions list for his links to Vladimir Putin we have worked extensively to ensure the club can continue to play football while ensuring the sanctions regime continues to be enforced.”

The Premier League welcomed the ticketing update and confirmed that it will handle the money made from ticket sales with an intention to donate the funds to victims of the war in Ukraine. Cash from Chelsea fans purchasing tickets for away games will go direct to the opposition club but remaining home seats for Premier League games will remain unsold.

“The Premier League will receive and hold any revenue from the sale of these tickets that would normally have gone to Chelsea,” a spokesman said. “Chelsea FC have requested and the Premier League agreed that this revenue will be donated to charity to benefit victims of the war in Ukraine. The beneficiary charities will be announced in due course after consultation with the club.”

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