Roman Abramovich's sale of Chelsea could go through within TEN DAYS, says Premier League chief


Premier League chief executive Richard Masters believes Roman Abramovich has made the ‘right decision’ in putting Chelsea up for sale and said a change of ownership could go through in just 10 days.

Masters said the Russian-Israeli billionaire’s ownership of the Stamford Bridge club was ‘unsustainable’ in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He confirmed there will be a show of support for Ukraine at Premier League fixtures this weekend and that broadcasting deals in Russia were ‘under review’.

And Masters also confirmed a human rights element to the owners’ and directors’ test in English football is being considered with the Premier League in consultations with Amnesty International.

Abramovich, who has owned Chelsea since 2003, confirmed he was putting the club up for sale in a statement on Wednesday evening with the asking price £3billion.

Asked how quickly Chelsea could be sold, Masters told the Financial Times Business of Football Summit in London: ‘I think the quickest one we have ever done is 10 days but that’s not to say that record cannot be beaten. 

‘Normally it will take a number of weeks but that will depend on the complexity of the deal really and the number of potential owners. 

‘Provided that the information is easily digestible, easily understandable and gives us the right answers, it can be done relatively quickly.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters believes Roman Abramovich (above) has made the 'right decision' in putting Chelsea up for sale

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters believes Roman Abramovich (above) has made the ‘right decision’ in putting Chelsea up for sale

Masters said a change of ownership for the Blues could go through in just 10 days

Masters said a change of ownership for the Blues could go through in just 10 days

Abramovich, who has owned Chelsea since 2003, confirmed he was putting the club up for sale in a statement on Wednesday evening amid potential UK government sanctions on him

Abramovich, who has owned Chelsea since 2003, confirmed he was putting the club up for sale in a statement on Wednesday evening amid potential UK government sanctions on him

‘It is the right decision, the situation has escalated incredibly quickly over the last seven days and he has come to the right conclusion that it is unsustainable in the current environment,’ he added.

‘It is a welcome decision and obviously for the sake of everyone, including the fans, the sooner the selling process concludes and completes, the sooner everyone will have certainty.’ 

Okko Sport are the current broadcasters of the Premier League in Russia but the rights are returning to Match TV from next season.

But Masters said: ‘The broadcast rights in Russia are under review.

Premier League also confirmed the TV broadcast rights in Russia are under review

Premier League also confirmed the TV broadcast rights in Russia are under review

There will be a show of support for Ukraine at Premier League fixtures this weekend

There will be a show of support for Ukraine at Premier League fixtures this weekend

Masters also confirmed a new human rights component to their owners' and directors' test

Masters also confirmed a new human rights component to their owners’ and directors’ test

‘I would like the Russian people to see the strength of feeling in the Premier League and English football this weekend but we will look at them very closely in terms of suspension or termination given the current circumstances.

‘It is happening right now, we are thinking about it, it’s a fast moving situation.’

Asked about the ongoing sanctions against Russian athletes and teams across the world of sport, and what needs to happen for them to return to the fold, Masters said: ‘I’m not a politician but the one thing that could affect it is [Vladimir] Putin somehow gets taken out of his role and replaced by somebody else.

‘That would get everybody to a different place. While there’s a war going on it’s unsustainable and sport and Russia can’t mix.’

Masters confirmed the Premier League is considering adding a human rights component to their owners’ and directors’ test.

He added: ‘We’ve had quite helpful conversations with Amnesty International about those sorts of things.

‘We’re not ready to say how it will change yet because it should be one test for football – us, the FA and the EFL agreeing on what that test should be, how it is implemented and how it is communicated to fans.’

Abramovich has also set a deadline of Friday for interested parties to submit ‘indicative offers’ for the club he has owned for the best part of two decades.

But The Guardian claim that once a sale is complete, current Blues managing director Marina Granovskaia and chairman Bruce Buck are unlikely to stay on under the new ownership.

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck (left) and managing director Marina Granovskaia (right) are not expected to stay under new ownership

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck (left) and managing director Marina Granovskaia (right) are not expected to stay under new ownership

Buck has been at the heart of the Abramovich era at Stamford Bridge, joining the club in his current role in March 2004.

A high-profile lawyer who founded Chelsea’s Past Players’ Trust, Buck was one of the six trustees handed interim control of the club following Abramovich’s first statement last Saturday.

Chelsea trustees expect the original plan to hand over the stewardship of the club to their charitable foundation to be abandoned.

Trustees, who showed huge reluctance towards the plan anyway, remain on stand-by in the eventuality that Abramovich does not complete a sale of the club.

But the stewardship plan has now been described as being ‘dead in the water’ in its current format following confirmation on Wednesday night that Abramovich is looking to sell Chelsea.

Even if Chelsea planned to continue with handing over stewardship of the club to the six trustees, it has emerged that the Charities Commission would likely prevent the proposals from being actioned.

On Tuesday, Sportsmail revealed trustees would have insisted on an indemnity policy before agreeing to Abramovich’s original plan.

Trustees have held a number of concerns in relation to Abramovich’s plan, which was sprung on the trustees with very little notice on Saturday night.

Conflict of interest is understood to be among the key apprehensions, while the morality of being the face of a football club and business that has been linked to the Russian regime that has invaded Ukraine is another major consideration for trustees.

However, the sheer responsibility of playing such a key role within a business that turned over £434.8million for the previous financial year is known to be the leading concern amongst a number of trustees.

The trustees include: Chelsea chairman Buck, John Devine, a partner at the law firm Muckle LLP, club director of finance Paul Ramos, women’s head coach Emma Hayes, executive director of anti-discrimination group Fare, Piara Powar, and the chairman of the British Olympic Association, Sir Hugh Robertson. 

Meanwhile, Russian executive Granovskaia assumed her director role at Chelsea in 2013.

Her relationship with Abramovich goes back well beyond her nine years at Chelsea. 

She is one of Abramovich’s most trusted confidantes and was the one who ran the club from London while he was away. 

Granovskaia, who has Russian and Canadian citizenship, worked as Abramovich’s personal assistant at his oil company, Sibneft, in 1997.

Buck has been a mainstay of Abramovich's reign at Stamford Bridge, joining in March 2004

Buck has been a mainstay of Abramovich’s reign at Stamford Bridge, joining in March 2004

She was brought to London in 2003 when Abramovich purchased Chelsea and took a position on the board a decade later, with the Times declaring her the ‘most powerful woman in football’.

The Telegraph claim parties interested in buying Chelsea do recognise her worth within football and that allowing her to leave could represent a significant loss to the club.

Those groups interested in purchasing the club from Abramovich are therefore open to keeping Granovskaia under their ownership, the report adds.

Boss Thomas Tuchel and performance advisor Petr Cech are also understood to have a close working relationship with her.

Granovskaia is the chief negotiator for new players and contract renewals and, while she has been praised for her role in convincing veteran defender Thiago Silva to join, it was her display at the negotiating table for the sale of Eden Hazard that captured attention.

Forbes ranked her fifth overall back in 2018 in their ‘Most Powerful Women in International Sports’ list.

In addition, Granovskaia’s work was recognised on a global scale when she received the Best Club Director in European football award back in December.

Granovskaia (left) has long been a close confidante of Abramovich, since before Chelsea

Granovskaia (left) has long been a close confidante of Abramovich, since before Chelsea

The Russian-Canadian director has been described as headstrong in negotations

The Russian-Canadian director has been described as headstrong in negotations

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