The sale of Chelsea football club has been put on hold as potential buyers wait for clarity amid the sanctions imposed upon Roman Abramovich by the UK government, GOAL can confirm.
Abramovich initially announced that he was passing on the stewardship of Chelsea to trustees after Russia began their invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
The 55-year-old then went a step further and put the club up for sale, inviting bids in excess of £3 billion, but his assets have now been frozen as the UK continues to try and help destabilise Russia's economy.
What's the situation?
GOAL has learned that the sale of Chelsea is now officially on standby in light of Thursday's announcement.
Swiss-American duo of Hansjorg Wyss and Todd Boehly, Turkish billionaire Muhsin Bayrak and American duo Jamie Reuben and Nick Candy have been among those to express interest in buying the club over the past fortnight.
After seeing Abramovich sanctioned, however, investors and those involved in negotiations are now taking stock as they await clarity on the road ahead.
Can a sale be made without Abramovich?
Abramovich is unable to make any money from Chelsea while his assets remain frozen, but the club can still be legally sold as long as the UK government is involved in the process.
The Blues would need a special license from the government to complete a sale and they would then determine the destination of the funds raised.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said of the situation: "It’s fair to say the Government is open to a sale of the club, but it would require another licence.
“We are now talking to Chelsea Football Club. Those conversations will continue. The important thing is under no circumstances of any sale would allow Roman Abramovich to profit from that or take any money from that sale.
“The principle has been to try to mitigate the impact on fans … these measures are designed to punish those close to Putin and make sure any money generated can’t make its way through to the Russian war machine.”