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Saudi Media not selected to reach preferred bidder stage for Chelsea's future ownership

GOAL can exclusively reveal that Saudi Media Group's bid for Chelsea FC has not been selected to go to the final stage.

Investment bank Raine Group has communicated, on behalf of Chelsea, that it will not take Saudi Media's bid forward and will move forward with other options.

The private consortium which was headed up by Blues supporter Mohamed Alkhereiji is said to be disappointed with the decision and the lack of explanation as to why it has not been considered.

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It is now thought that Todd Boehly's consortium, the Ricketts family and Sir Michael Broughton's joint bid with Lord Sebastian Coe rank as the favourites to take the club from sanctioned owner Roman Abramovich.

What was Saudi Media's proposal?

Saudi Media had expertise in the football industry through Middle Eastern giants Al Nassr and had built stadiums in the past.

It was ready to pump £200 million ($260m) directly into the club immediately.

Its plan was thought to be extensive and competitive, but it may have suffered from perceived connections to its country's government, which is something that it denies. It would have likely extended the due diligence process for Saudi Media compared to a group from the United States or United Kingdom.

Despite missing out, Saudi Media is open to joining up with one of the preferred bidders who have made it through to the next round.

What happens next?

Raine Group, the New York investment bank, initially employed by Abramovich and now Chelsea, is in the process of informing bidders.

It is releasing email receipts to groups about their status in the process, ahead of a final stage where preferred bidders will see their proposals scrutinised at a new level of detail.

There are proposals from New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, Centricus, the London-based global investment firm, Nick Candy and his consortium, which includes significant backing from South Korean firms and Amr Zedan, another wealthy Saudi national who has interests in petrochemicals and horse racing.

The process will now allow lawyers from Chelsea and the Premier League to highlight any issues ahead of allowing a new owner to buy the club.

Those at Chelsea want this done as quickly as possible with the club still losing money due to the status of their operating licence.

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