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‘Bizarre’ Chelsea move backfires as whopping 200 bidders eye takeover

Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea will not make “excuses” despite severe restrictions placed on the club as a result of UK sanctions targeting Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

Meanwhile, time is running out for potential buyers to place their bids on the embattled Blues, with up to 200 parties having expressed interest in the club.

Abramovich has set an asking price of £3 billion ($A5.45bn), with profits from the sale set to go to a charity supporting Ukrainian victims of Russia’s invasion.

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Meanwhile, the club’s forced sale continues to progress rapidly. The bank overseeing the sale set a deadline for Friday for bids to be entered – and there’s no shortage of interested parties.

Sky Sports reported there have already been around 200 expressions of interest, though only a small portion of those are likely to be in the final running.

So far, a consortium led by Todd Boehly is seemingly leading the race after making an early offer reportedly worth around £2 billion ($A3.63bn) one week ago. Boehly is the part-owner of the LA Dodgers, who previously attempted to buy Chelsea for £2.2 billion ($4bn) three years ago alongside property developer and Spurs fan Jonathan Goldstein. They have now joined forces with US-based Swiss billionaire Hangjorg Wyss.

But an extremely controversial rival has reportedly outbid them with their first offer.


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According to CBS Sports, Saudi Media Group submitted a £2.7bn ($A4.9bn) offer for the club. Saudi Media Group is owned by Chelsea fan Mohamed Alkhereiji, who previously studied in London. CBS reported the bidding group is a private consortium that has no direct government links (unlike the group that purchased Newcastle recently).

But there is widespread concern across the Premier League and the club over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, particularly after the country ordered the executions of 81 people on the weekend.

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British billionaire Nick Candy is seemingly the top rival to those two bidders as it stands. Candy is a lifelong Blues fan who develops luxury properties and is working to build a consortium of buyers and financiers – including ex-Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton. Broughton is a fellow Chelsea fanatic who was an important figure in Fenway Sports Group’s purchase of Liverpool in 2010.

Candy has promised an immediate injection of cash into the club to help it overcome the current government restrictions, and has also promised that fans would have a seat on the board, if not the ability to share in the club’s ownership.

Broughton is also reportedly willing to form a consortium of his own, should a deal with Candy not eventuate.

Tilman Fertitta, owner of the Houston Rockets NBA franchise, boasts a net worth of £4.8 billion according to Forbes and is another interested party.

Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak has boldly declared he will be the new owner of the club.

And there is also some reported interest from New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and the Chicago Cubs owners, the Ricketts family.

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The European champions travel to face French side Lille in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday, well placed to reach the quarter-finals after a 2-0 win in the first leg.

German boss Tuchel admitted Chelsea had been forced to make adjustments.

“There are restrictions and we have to deal with it,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday. “There are adjustments in our amount of staff who are travelling, how many rooms we have in hotels, how we arrive at matches.

“To my understanding everything is in place now. We can arrive on a professional level because this is not about luxury, this is not about bling-bling.”

He added: “We have a framework to go to Lille and play the game in Lille where there will absolutely be no excuses regarding this kind of organisation.

“It is already a bit more difficult to arrange things in a professional way, in the best way possible for the FA Cup (on Saturday) but we will deal with it.

“As long as we have shirts, as long as we are ‘alive’, as long as we are a team and we arrive with our players we will be competitive and we will fight hard for our success because we owe it to the people who support us.”

Tuchel previously joked he would drive players by car if the club needed!

“My last information is we have a plane,” he said. “We can go by plane and go back by plane. If not we go by train. And if not we go by bus. And if not I’ll drive a seven-seater!”

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Chelsea on Tuesday withdrew a request made hours earlier for Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough to be played behind closed doors in the interests of fairness after they were blocked from making new ticket sales for the match at the Riverside Stadium.

Championship side Middlesbrough had responded angrily, saying the request was “bizarre and without any merit whatsoever”.

Even Chelsea’s own supporter groups hit out at the move, which would have denied 30,000 fans of second-tier Boro to attend the match.

The Football Association later confirmed the match would take place in front of supporters as planned.

“After constructive talks between the FA and Chelsea, the club has agreed to remove their request for the Emirates FA Cup quarter-final tie against Middlesbrough to be played behind closed doors,” a spokesman tweeted.

“The FA remains in ongoing discussions with Chelsea, the Premier League and the government to find a solution that would enable both Chelsea fans to attend games and away fans to attend Stamford Bridge, whilst ensuring sanctions are respected.”

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