UK

Nadine Dorries: Time running out for Chelsea FC sale

After being sanctioned by the UK Government last month, the Culture Secretary claimed the west London club is now on “borrowed time”.

Speking on the BBC’s Newscast podcast, Ms Dorries said: “Chelsea’s being sold, as you know, and the sanctions apply. So those sanctions still apply during the sale.

“But what I will say, actually, is that Chelsea is very much on borrowed time at the moment. There is a very short window left for that sale to take place. It has to happen soon.”

Asked by co-host Adam Flemming: “And what happens if the window closes and it’s not sold?”

The Culture Secretary added: “Well, I’m not going to go into those conversations, but I think it’s just enough for me to say there is a very short window and the club has to be sold soon.”

Asked on the timeframe of a potential sale, Ms Dorries claimed “weeks” are remaining before reiterating that Chelsea “is very much on borrowed time right now”.

The sale of the club is now in its final stages with three final bidders now confirmed although former owner, Roman Abramovich, will not receive any proceeds from the deal.

It is thought Mr Abramovich wants upwards of £2.5billion for the club and has pledged to donate a sizeable amount of the fee to charities.

Raine Group, the merchant bank handling the sale is expected to pick between a group led buy Sir Martin Boughton, the former Liverpool and British Airways chairman; another headed by Todd Boehly, the part-owner of the LA Dodges; and lastly, Steve Pagliuca and Larry Tanenbaum, the backers of the Boston Cletics.

Since the club was sanctioned, it is has been operating under a special licence which prohibits the sale of away tickets, transfers and contract renewals.

During the interview, Ms Dorries also spoke of Government plans to privatise Channel 4. Despite criticsm, the Culture Secretary said the move is not politically motivated.

She did add, however, that many Tory MPs do not like the channel, adding: “Channel 4 doesn’t help itself when its main news anchor was going round shouting, ‘F the Tories’ so it doesn’t actually help itself in that regard.

“But what I would say is that of course there are a lot of Conservative MPs who don’t like Channel 4 News.

“Some people may argue that it was you know, it was incredibly biased, but it’s actually a lot of Conservative MPs who will probably be arguing for it not to be sold.”

The podcast will be on BBC Sounds this evening and on BBC One at 11.40pm.

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