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The Saudi Media Group and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson have reportedly been told they are not part of a final shortlist in the sale of Chelsea Football Club.
He appointed US bank The Raine Group to oversee the process and even in spite of the sanctions placed on Abramovich, they have been able to continue the process and are preparing to name three final offers.
They add that SMG is ‘willing to support other consortiums that are selected’ with the belief that Chelsea needing a quick sale as the reason for their snub by the Raine Group.
Saudi Media generates an estimated £770million per year, hence their need to bring in outside backers as part of their bid.
It is believed that Mohamed Alkhereiji, a lifelong Chelsea fan who was leading the private Saudi consortium, submitted an offer in the region of £2.7billion.
The Saudi Media Group is not directly owned by the Saudi government, unlike Newcastle United’s owner the Public Investment Fund (PIF). However, Khalid Al Saud is chair of the state-owned Saudi Telecom Company, in which the PIF owns shares.
It was reported earlier this week that Chelsea could receive the highest ever price to purchase a sports team with a bid of over £3bn.
Chelsea have been hit hard by the sanctions are are not currently permitted to buy players, agree new contracts, sell match day tickets and their away day travel budget has been capped at £20,000 – with the club given a special licence to continue to their desperate search for new ownership.
Saudi Media Group, headed by Mohamed Alkhereiji (pictured at Stamford Bridge in November when Chelsea drew 1-1 with Manchester United) has reportedly not made the final shortlist
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson (centre) has reportedly also missed the final shortlist
The bidding window for potential suitors hoping to buy Chelsea closed at 9pm last Friday
There has been an urgency for a quick sale following the sanctioning of Roman Abramovich
Sportsmail previously revealed there is an expectancy that Todd Boehly’s consortium will make the shortlist, while the fact members of the Ricketts Family have committed to flying over to England to meet supporters indicates they are confident of making the final cut.
The consortium led by Sir Martin Broughton and Lord Coe, which is set to be heavily financed by current Crystal Palace shareholders Josh Harris and David Blitzer, are considered among the favourites to be shortlisted.
The group led by Nick Candy remain hopeful of making the final three or four; while Centricus, a consortium fronted by Chelsea season ticket holders, are also hoping to be part of the shortlist.
Sky News have reported that the offer by New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, has been unsuccessful, as well as that of Muhsin Barak, the Turkish businessman who brashly claimed he had a 90 per chance of buying the Stamford Bridge club from Abramovich.
The offer from Aethel Partners is also expected to miss out, according to that report.
LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly is also leading a consortium bidding to buy Chelsea
British businessman Nick Candy is another tycoon in the race to replace Abramovich
As well as being overseen by Raine, Sportsmail understands Blues director Marina Granovskaia also offered interested groups guidance during the bidding process.
Raine asked bidders to give binding assurances about future spending on the club and its ground prior to the shortlist being finalised.
An insider told Sky Sports: ‘They want guarantees about future capital funding for the club and stadium, and cash on the balance sheet, so that they can be certain they are picking the best future owner of Chelsea.’
The Ricketts Family this week moved to defuse growing tensions towards their bid to buy Chelsea, insisting they are not racist.
Patriarch of the family Joe Ricketts was forced to apologise for describing Muslims as an ‘enemy’ in leaked emails.
But a statement for the Ricketts Family read: ‘Our family rejects any form of hate in the strongest possible terms. Racism and Islamophobia have no place whatsoever in our society. We have developed deep and abiding partnerships with the Muslim community in Chicago, as well as with all communities of colour.
Abramovich has been disqualified as a director of Chelsea by the Premier League
‘Respect for diversity and inclusion are central to our family’s values. If we prevail in our bid for Chelsea, we commit to the Club and to the fans that we will actively promote these values.’
The bidders put through to the final stage by Raine will be told they have until the end of April to strike a deal.
The club continue to operate amid the swirl of uncertainty surrounding them and were boosted by the news this week that they are able to sell tickets to their FA Cup semi-final with Crystal Palace and also the Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid.
They remain banned from selling tickets to home games as part of the licence given to them to operate following the freezing of Abramovich’s assets.
There is a real urgency to get the sale completed to avoid the breaking up of the squad this summer.
The Premier League and government will both have to give the green light for the new owners to take over when the time comes.
Chelsea fans are fearing a prolonged takeover could see the break-up of the squad