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The billionaire who owns the basketball team emerges as the leading candidate to buy Chelsea after the punishment of Roman Abramovich

Basketball team owner BILLIONAIRE has emerged as a leading candidate to buy back Chelsea after Roman Abramovich was hit with sanctions.

American tycoon Antony Ressler, 61, is said to have held secret talks in Memphis with representatives of investment bank Raine Group, which is handling the sale.

Billionaire basketball team owner, American tycoon Antony Ressler, has emerged as a leading candidate to buy Chelsea

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Billionaire basketball team owner, American tycoon Antony Ressler, has emerged as a leading candidate to buy ChelseaCredit: Getty
The club is being sold after Roman Abramovich was affected by the sanctions

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The club is being sold after Roman Abramovich was affected by the sanctionsCredit: Getty

Sources say it is likely the Atlanta Hawks owner will be involved in the “financial side” of Chelsea but had no further details. Chelsea declined to comment.

Ressler, the co-founder of private equity firm Ares Management, transacted with Raine last year while facilitating his firm’s £115m investment in American football club Inter Miami.

The source said last night: “Tony wants to add an English team to his sporting list and makes no secret of it, but is ready to land a great bargain in negotiations. That said, there are several other players involved. ”

Former British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton and property investor Jonathan Goldstein are also at the center of potential bids.

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Lifetime Blues fan Sir Martin can be drafted to support bids from LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly and also Philadelphia 76ers basketball captain Josh Harris.

He is also in talks with a number of financial backers about his own bid as the first round bid is expected to take place later this week, Sky News reports.

Sir Martin, who led Liverpool 12 years ago, previously ran British American Tobacco and now heads Sports Investment Partners.

Mr. Goldstein, whose business empire includes Prezzo restaurants, was also part of the Boehly bid along with Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss.

Yesterday, ministers stepped in to make deeper changes to the license that would allow Chelsea to continue operating.

The club’s home game day spend has increased from £500,000 to £900,000. The changes also include holding broadcast rights and bonuses, which can be up to £100 million. The club have warned sanctions could threaten their chances of finishing the season.

Whitehall sources have revealed changes could also be made to the arrival and departure costs of the furniture, which currently stands at £20,000.

The new bids come as The Sun on Sunday was able to reveal that Abramovich first started a conversation about the purchase last year, as tensions between Ukraine and Russia were easing.

A source said: “He instructed the Raine Group to quietly seek out potential buyers last year, and their representatives have approached a number of interested parties.

“At the time, the move appeared to be driven by an increase in the number of potential buyers. But, with hindsight, he could have predicted the current situation.”

The government says it can issue more permits to allow the sale – once it’s happy with where the proceeds will go.

The Ministry of Culture, Media and Sports said officials would work with the club to minimize “the impact on leagues, football pyramids and fans”.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4881931/billionaire-basketball-team-owner-contender-to-buy-chelsea/ The billionaire who owns the basketball team emerges as the leading candidate to buy Chelsea after the punishment of Roman Abramovich

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