The war between Ukraine and Russia continues to intensify and so do the universal punishments which have been imposed on Russia.
The recipients of these sanctions aren’t only the Russian government as the world seems to have come together to cripple even Russia’s sports organisations. The sanctions have also led to heavy impacts in the world of football, many nations have refused to play the Russian national team and UEFA has even barred Russian sides from participating in their tournaments this season.
Aside from this, there have been calls to impose heavy sanctions on Russian Oligarchs, which will lead to one football entity being heavily impacted. The reference here is of course, to Chelsea Football Club and their Russian owner Roman Abramovich.
After days of speculation, the billionaire released an official statement announcing his decision to sell the club. This comes after reports of him selling his UK based assets, in an attempt to exit the UK Economy entirely. And undoubtedly his biggest asset in the country are the world champions, Chelsea.
Ever since the speculation began, sharks have been circling, and a ‘bidding war’ appears to have taken shape amidst 3 potential buyers. Many have shown interest, including MMA fighter Conor McGregor.
Serious buyers, on the other hand, include the likes of Chelsea season ticket holder and billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, and a consortium led by Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss.
The billionaire was the first to speak out and reveal Roman’s intentions. He told Blick, “Abramovich is currently trying to sell all his villas in England. He also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly. Along with three other people, I received an offer Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich.”
He further added that due to the scale of investment, he will look to join a consortium of four to five investors.
For the uninitiated, Wyss earned his riches after founding medical device manufacturer Synthes. Their primary products were implants and instruments to mend bone fractures.
Synthes became one of the largest manufacturers in its segment and was subsequently sold by Wyss in 2012 to Johnson and Johnson for a figure of $19.7 billion.
Wyss is also known for his philanthropic efforts, he has a charitable foundation worth over $2 billion. In 2018, he even pledged to donate $1 billion to environmental conservation programs.
He currently has a net worth of $5.8 billion.
As far as potential members for his consortium go, the only candidate to have been reported so far is billionaire Todd Boehly. The American investor is part owner of MLB side LA Dodgers and has worked with Wyss in the past.
In 2015, Boehly founded Eldridge Industries, a private holding company, which invests in various industries. He also has ownership in esports organisation Cloud9 and even fast-food franchise Chuck E Cheese. This won’t be his first attempt at acquiring the Blues, as reportedly, Boehly offered to buy Chelsea for $3 billion in 2019, before Roman Abramovich turned it down.
The Wyss led consortium have been reported to be the frontrunners in an apparent bidding war, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a deal does eventually take shape. Nonetheless, whoever the future owner of Chelsea might be, they will certainly have big shoes to fill as fans will expect the same amount of support and care as offered by Roman Abramovich.