The Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss has claimed he has been offered the chance to join a takeover bid for Chelsea as pressure grows on Roman Abramovich to sell the club.
Abramovich’s future at Chelsea is in doubt after he announced plans to relinquish the running of the club and the Labour MP Chris Bryant claimed that the Russian was hastily selling UK properties to avoid potential financial sanctions.
Abramovich’s decision to transfer the stewardship and care of Chelsea to the trustees of the club’s charitable foundation came after a call in parliament for him to face sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine. The move has increased the sense that the 55-year-old, who has vehemently disputed reports suggesting his alleged closeness to Vladimir Putin and Russia or that he has done anything to merit being sanctioned, could be ready to tempted to sell.
Interested parties could look to move swiftly in case Abramovich is sanctioned by the UK government, at which point it is unlikely a sale would be permitted. Chelsea have maintained that they are not for sale, but bids could reach Abramovich this week and the sense of uncertainty has grown after Wyss said he had been asked to join a consortium of “six or seven investors” looking to buy the club.
There is no suggestion that Abramovich is about to call in the £1.5bn worth of loans he has given Chelsea since buying them in 2003. However Wyss said that Abramovich wanted a sale, though the 86-year-old added that the current asking price was too high.