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Stamford Bridge redevelopment plans could aid Nick Candy’s bid to buy Chelsea

Candy brothers court case
(Image credit: Philip Toscano)

Nick Candy’s vision for a redeveloped Stamford Bridge could hand the British billionaire an edge in the battle to buy Chelsea, the PA news agency understands.

Property tycoon Candy remains interested in bidding for the Champions League holders, despite uncertainty around the club’s sale after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK Government on Thursday.

Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich’s UK assets are now frozen except for Chelsea, with the west London club handed a special licence to continue trading.

Princess Eugenie wedding

Chelsea fan and billionaire Nick Candy, left, with wife Holly Valance (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Chelsea’s sale remains technically on hold for now, but the Treasury could issue a new licence to allow a deal to go through – provided Abramovich receives no benefit.

PA understands the Government does expect the licence to be amended. Senior sources have told PA there was a need to get a licence out immediately following the sanctions announcement and that changes to it are likely.

A spokesperson for Candy confirmed the 49-year-old’s continued interest in Chelsea.

“We are examining the details of yesterday’s announcement and we are still interested in making a bid,” said Candy’s spokesperson.

“Clearly this is a time of great uncertainty for all Chelsea fans.

“In our view, no one is the owner of a football club – you are the custodian of it for the fans and the community.”

Stamford Bridge

A new owner could look to redevelop Stamford Bridge (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

A host of US investors still harbour interest in Chelsea, with LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly part of one consortium, and Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts another with a strongly rumoured interest.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Government and the Premier League would likely oversee any Chelsea sale now, and Candy’s status and credentials could sit well with those power brokers.

Candy has already declared his ambition to revamp Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium should he win the race to buy the club.

He is putting together a consortium offer for the Blues and his property sphere nous should find favour in Downing Street and Treasury corridors, it is understood.

Analysts believe a fully modernised and expanded Stamford Bridge could boost Chelsea’s commercial revenues by up to 25 per cent per annum.

Roman Abramovich is sanctioned

Roman Abramovich has seen his UK assets frozen (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

That major potential uplift, if coupled with an astute financing plan for the stadium rebuild, is among the main reasons for the continued brisk interest in the Chelsea sale.

Boosting the hotel offering at Stamford Bridge and also conferencing facilities would be among the other offshoots of a stadium rebuild.

Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on Wednesday, March 2 in light of Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

The 55-year-old had pledged to donate all proceeds barring transaction costs to a charitable foundation to be created to aid victims of the war in Ukraine.

Abramovich also vowed to write off the £1.5billion in loans he has made to Chelsea, and has been determined to see the club taken on by an owner with similarly lofty ambitions for the European and world champions.

A Government-conducted sale of Chelsea could see the purchasing capital frozen, or directed to charitable causes.

Abramovich may not be given the opportunity to set up his new foundation, but his prior public claims of not wanting to take any proceeds from the sale point to a potential acceptance of Government oversight in light of the sanctions.

Chelsea will continue negotiating with the Government over alterations to the current trading licence to allow the Blues to operate as close to normal as possible.

Chelsea cannot make any new signings however, nor can the Blues tie up any new contracts for existing players.

Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and fellow defenders Toni Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are all out of contract in the summer, and Chelsea could lose all three on free transfers.

Chelsea Women manager Emma Haye

Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes is staying patient (John Walton/PA)

Both Chelsea’s men’s and women’s teams produced league wins under the greatest distractions on Thursday night, with respective bosses Thomas Tuchel and Emma Hayes candid on the current state of flux.

“The situation will not go away, maybe tomorrow it will change again, but it will not go away,” men’s head coach Tuchel said.

“I am still happy to be here and still happy to be manager of a strong team. I know there is a lot of noise around.”

Chelsea Women head coach Hayes told Sky Sports News: “There’s no denying it’s a difficult day, but I think it’s important that we give it time.

“The club’s put a statement out. I understand the club is working with the Government to dissect the interpretation of that, so I think for all the questions everybody has, players, fans, staff, we have to give the club time to work through that.”

Shirt sponsor Three said on Thursday that it was suspending its partnership with Chelsea, but travel company Trivago is pledging to continue to support the club in the “transition to new ownership”.

Chelsea's shirts will no longer bear the Three logo but another commercial partner, Trivago, announced on Friday its continued support for the club

Chelsea’s shirts will no longer bear the Three logo but another commercial partner, Trivago, announced on Friday its continued support for the club (Joe Giddens/PA)

“The uncertainty over the current ownership situation of Chelsea FC has been challenging,” a company statement said.

“Moving forward, it is important to us to continue supporting the club, the fans and community along with the essential work that the Chelsea Foundation does to help those in need.

“We are looking forward to a transition of ownership as soon as possible and want to support the club in this process. We will provide any update to our business relationship if and when appropriate.”

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