Chelsea FC sale to generate more than £2.3bn for good causes, MPs told

The government has allowed the sale of the football club on the condition that funds released will be used for charitable purposes in Ukraine

(Photograph: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
(Photograph: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

The sale of Chelsea FC is set to generate more than £2.3bn for charitable causes in Ukraine, MPs have heard.

Appearing before the Treasury Select Committee this week, Christopher Watts, deputy director of the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, which is part of the Treasury, said the funds were frozen in an account while a charitable vehicle was set up to funnel the money to causes in Ukraine.

The football club was sold after former owner Roman Abramovich was the subject of sanctions by the UK government in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The £4.25bn sale, to the US businessman Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, was allowed to proceed on condition that the proceeds were “used for humanitarian purposes in Ukraine”, the government said.

Mike Penrose, former chief executive of Unicef UK, has been working on the creation of a foundation to receive the charitable funds.

Watts told MPs: “We had to understand who the buyers were, where the money was going, make absolutely sure that none of it was able to get near a designated person, what the net proceeds would be that were going to charity, and then make sure that those were frozen in a UK account awaiting the move to charitable causes.”

He went on to say: “The net proceeds, which are frozen in an account awaiting the next step, which is to establish the charitable vehicle to let those funds go to Ukraine, are £2.35bn.”

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