The fewest interested buyers know they don’t need to find £1.5 billion just to pay off a debt to Roman Abramovich.
But making it all a success will still be difficult.
An entire generation of Blues supporters knows only the Red Rom era – cup after trophy, great playersgoals and glory.
However, it is too easy to forget that the whole playing field has changed since 2003.
The Russian player only had to part with the monopoly, the Premier League is dominated by Manchester United and Arsenal, under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.
He did that and more, first turning it into the Big Three and then replacing those two giants. But now it’s not just three.
There is a Big Six – even if Spurs often look like invaders – with Manchester City and Liverpool now Chelsea’s biggest domestic and European rivals.
The same goes for money at Leicester and Aston Villa. And, of course, the new, emerging force is Newcastle under their Saudi lords.
All of which helps explain why even some potential contractors are able to think deeply before put their money on the table.
One buyer could be British chemical giant Ineos. They are owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the UK’s richest man, worth around £16 billion – and also a Chelsea fan.
Indeed, Sir Jim and his brother Bob, head of Ineos Football, which runs French side Nice and Swiss outfit Lausanne, have been considered potential owners before.
Hitting the topic two years ago, Bob suggested a “£2 billion sticker price” for any of the top six clubs was just the start.
He said: “Why would you expect to be willing to pay £2 billion when the net revenue of the entire Premier League is £5 billion and the 20 clubs combined have a net profit of just £500 million?
NEW FACILITIES AT THE HEAD
“It is very difficult for a company like Ineos to justify being in the top six and then writing checks to compete for those top titles.
“We don’t love stadium economics – the numbers don’t work for us.
“All income is pretty stable. The retail side doesn’t work – drawing that conclusion is not rocket science.”
Even if those problems can be fixed, there are other factors in the equation, some unique to Prem, others to Chelsea.
The most important of these is the fact that any new owner will own all of the property – with the exception of the NAME of Chelsea and the Stamford Bridge PITCH.
They belong to the Chelsea Pitch Owners, an organization founded by Rom’s predecessor, Ken Bates, after his intense battle with property developer Marler Estates.
Bates sold the free land of the pitch and the rights to the name “Chelsea” to the CPO, lending the group £10 million to make the sale. In return, the club was granted a 100-year lease, extending until 2097, for pepper rents.
And the new owners will also have to face the problem of the stadium itself.
Abramovich, 55, has spent millions on a massive rebuilding scheme, which the club will probably be forced to leave for up to five seasons.
When Rom, angered to learn his UK tier 1 ‘golden visa’ won’t be renewed, pulls the plug in 2018, the development is expected to cost upwards of 1.7 billion pound.
Now it will be north of £2 billion. Delegating control of a Prem club is also not easy.
Ironically, Chelsea was one of the clubs to demand harsher new rules and stricter checks on owners and directors after Toon took over.
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Any new owners will have to pass the Prem selection – which can take weeks at best – before receiving the nod.
Simply, it is not. And then there will be contracts, transfers and requests from players and managers.
Maybe Abramovich’s final message will be a brief one: “Goodbye. And good luck.”
https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/17826801/chelsea-roman-abramovich-sale-new-owners-issues/ Roman Abramovich may not be buying as quickly as he wants… the new Chelsea owners will inherit some big problems