FAN VIEW: Come on Rishi Sunak, it’s time for the Treasury to get a grip and take a proper look at Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s £4.25bn bid to buy Chelsea
- Premier League need another bunch of foreign owners like a hole in the head
- Treasury has a belated chance to get a grip of process of the sale of Chelsea
- They should have insisted that Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s bid is properly examined
The intervention of Sir Jim Ratcliffe in the battle for control of Chelsea FC gives the Treasury a belated chance to get a grip — to the overall benefit of English football. The Premier League need another bunch of foreign owners like a hole in the head.
So far, the Treasury’s handling of the sale has been clumsy and maladroit, and sometimes ludicrous.
Why were there empty seats at Chelsea against West Ham? Because the Treasury refused to allow the club to sell non-season tickets, even though they have already prevented any benefit from going to Roman Abramovich. Why interfere with the club’s ability to pursue its business? Ludicrous.
Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s made a shock last-gasp attempt to hijack the bidding
Ludicrous, too, that they have allowed the disposal of the club to be handled by Abramovich henchmen, who are answerable not to the Treasury but to Abramovich.
People like the chairman, Bruce Buck, who was Abramovich’s lawyer. Or the American bank that Abramovich hired to sell the club four years ago. Why are they still controlling the sale? Virtually guaranteeing that any sale would be to American private equity. That’s what has happened.
Three runners, all American, with a few token Brits, who are normally committed supporters of other clubs. What a muddle. What a mess. Then enter stage right, Jim Ratcliffe, a Brit, indeed Britain’s richest man, possessing all the money needed to do the job. Whereas Todd Boehly, the leader of the principal consortium, reportedly has a net worth less than the asking price of the club.
American tycoon Todd Boehly is on course to become the new Chelsea owner
So if he wins, he’ll have to reach for the Glazer family playbook at Manchester United pretty damn quick — borrowing money and saddling Chelsea with debt without any concern for the club’s long term health and viability.
The Treasury should have insisted that Ratcliffe’s bid is properly examined, instead of which, the American banks — surprise, surprise — immediately declared Boelhy’s gang to be the winners.
Maybe Ratcliffe isn’t the real deal. Maybe he’s just playing it for publicity like the wretched Candy brothers, who were all over the papers until proof of funds was required. Then exit stage left as fast as possible.
Is that what Ratcliffe is up to? Could be, but somehow I doubt it.
Chelsea was put up for sale in March when Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
What is certain is that this sale to the Boehly group cannot go through without a proper check being made. And if the Treasury fail to do that, it will be a disgrace.
Time, perhaps, for some political control of this process. So how about it, Rishi?
It’s the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that’s feeling the pressure, but it’s the Treasury that’s running the show.
So time to step up to the plate, Rishi. Maybe father-in-law could chip in a few bob, too.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has the chance to take control of the process of selling Chelsea
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