Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has admitted that he doesn't think Roman Abramovich can sell Chelsea if he is sanctioned as Russia's military conflict with Ukraine continues.
Chelsea are currently preparing for the departure of Abramovich after 19 years under the Russian billionaire's ownership as he has put the club up for sale for £2.6 billion ($3.5bn).
Abramovich said he has taken the decision with the "club’s best interest at heart" amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, but the Premier League have warned that he may well need to secure a quick sale.
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What's been said?
Speaking at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, Premier League chief Masters said of Abramovich's impending departure: “I think the situation has escalated incredibly quickly over the last seven days and he’s come to the right conclusion.
“It’s unsustainable in the current environment. It’s a welcome decision and obviously, for the sake of everybody, including the fans, as soon as the sale process concludes everyone has certainty.”
British MPs have called for tougher sanctions against Russian oligarchs such as Abramovich, and Masters harbours doubts over whether the sale of Chelsea will ultimately go through.
Asked what would happen if Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK, the top-flight executive told his audience in London: “I don’t think that will work. I think the quickest (sale) we have ever done is 10 days, that’s not to say that record can’t be beaten but normally it takes a number of weeks.
“It all depends on the complexity of the deal and the number of potential owners. Provided the information is easily digestible, easily understandable and gives us all the right answers it can be done relatively quickly.”
Have any bids been submitted?
Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly is thought to be in pole postion to buy Chelsea.
Boehly is interested in purchasing the club behind a consortium with Swiss mogul Hansjorg Wyss, but no formal bids have been submitted as of yet.
Indeed, GOAL can confirm that a number of parties have already ruled themselves out of the running, with Marina Granovskaia and the rest of the current Chelsea directors set to stay on for the foreseeable future.
Whoever comes in as the new owner will eventually decide their fate, but in light of the sale announcement, Abramovich's original plans to hand over "stewardship" of the club to trustees have been scrapped.