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Exclusive: Examining BlueCo & Chelsea - plenty of cash but little football experience's football finance expert Peter Taberner pulls apart Chelsea's ownership, the men behind BlueCo and speaks with Professor Rob Wilson about the potential plans the club has for the future...

In May it will be two years since Chelsea were taken over by the Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital led consortium BlueCo, in a £4.25 billion deal bringing the Roman Abramovich era to its end, and so far their leadership has been a frustrating time for the club's supporters.

Champions League winning manager Thomas Tuchel was sacked four months after Boehly and co bought out the club, where the German's reluctance to sign an ageing Cristiano Ronaldo was apparently the catalyst for a deteriorating relationship between the two parties.

Graham Potter then lasted only seven months after the club spent £21 million on him and his coaching staff to prise him away from Brighton.

Now Mauricio Pochettino is struggling at Stamford Bridge with the club languishing in mid-table, despite spending over £1 billion in three transfer windows including a British record fee of £115 million for Moises Caicedo from Brighton.

This has led to talk that perhaps the ownership structure at Chelsea is to blame for the club's struggles.

BlueCo is spearheaded by Boehly, who according to Forbes has amassed a personal fortune of $6.1 billion.

In 2015 he co-founded Eldridge, a diverse investment company that even sealed a deal to invest in Bruce Springsteen's song rights.

This was after he served as president for the Guggenheim Partners credit business which he built up.

Boehly does have a sporting background as he is the part owner of baseball team the LA Dodgers, which he has revived as they have reached the World Series three times in four years winning it in 2020.

He also has interests in basketball teams the Los Angeles Lakers and the women's team the Los Angeles Sparks.

Boehly is joined by Mark Walter who is a key member of the BlueCo team, and alongside Boehy is a part owner in the famous Los Angeles Lakers and the Sparks teams.

The 63-year-old is also the chief executive of the Guggenheim Partners financial services firm.

His personal assets are estimated by Forbes to have climbed to just over $5 billion, and is the only other director along with Boehy who has any kind of sporting background.

Other BlueCo directors include Behdad Eghball who is a co-founder of Clearlake Capital, and has a fortune of $3.8 billion according to Forbes, and Jose E. Feliciano who is another cofounder of the private equity firm, and Forbes say his net worth is also $3.8 billion.

James Pade is a Chelsea director who also established Clearlake Capital, and has interests in other firms such as Alert and Diamond Parent Holdings, and Transworld Investment Holdings.

Clearlake Capital only has Chelsea as a sporting outlet as part of its investment portfolio, which includes American Construction Source and software firm Alteryx.

The remaining member of the consortium is Hansjoerg Wyss, who has acquired his $4.8 billion net personal fortune mainly from his sale of medical device manufacturer Synthes, which he founded, to Johnson and Johnson for a huge $20.2 billion.

Previously the Swiss billionaire has claimed that Abramovich offered Chelsea to him, as he was trying to sell the club quickly.

It would appear that the combined wealth of the directors of BlueCo is enough capital to sustain investment into Chelsea, and to keep investing in the team although they will be looking for better results than what has been produced so far when it comes to transfers.

Yet Professor Rob Wilson, football finance expert at VSI Executive Education, does not believe that Chelsea can rely on the consortium as much as they did Abramovich.

"No. Neither for ongoing funding due to Financial Fair Play and it's new variant or for capital funding unless for a new stadium." he told

"The BlueCo deal invested heavily as part of the acquisition, a classic private equity play, but under the financial regulations from UEFA and the Premier League, they cannot fund in the same way Roman did."

BlueCo's financial results for the first year has shown huge losses totalling £653 million.

This is despite Chelsea's revenues breaking through the £500 million barrier that was driven by increased matchday and commercial revenue, yet they still made a before tax loss of £90.1 million between March 2022 and June last year.

Although the club did blame the sanctions that were placed on Abramovich after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Yet the figures raise questions whether the club will fall foul of UEFA and Premier League financial regulations.

BlueCo also have a stake in Ligue 1Strasbourg as it looks towards creating a multi- club model.

Recently Strasbourg supporters have vented their anger against the group, it's a feeling that has intensified after the closing of the January transfer window during which their most experienced player goalkeeper Matz Sels, was sold to Nottingham Forest.

"Typically multi-club organisations (MCO) run on a pyramid model. I'd argue that Chelsea is at the top so the MCO approach and will look to maximise their success, often at the detriment of others in the group," Professor Wilson reflected.

"Player and sporting staff movement are the obvious benefits to Chelsea.

"Clubs can benefit being part of this kind of network as it smooths the loan system and any transfers between clubs.

"You can also drive economies of scale through group oversight, a finance director for instance can work for the group rather than a specific club."

"It would depend on the situation whether things get spread too thinly.

"We don't have much evidence of that so far."

There has been speculation that Boehly may want to invite new investors into BlueCo, but Professor Wilson is unsure that will happen.

"They may attract investment into the private equity fund owing to the excitement of the football brand," he added.

"For Chelsea I don't see anything coming in the short term.

"Much work will focus on sponsors, who have been equally difficult to attract. The shirt sponsor is a Boehly company for instance."

The expansion of Stamford Bridge also appears to be in BlueCo's plans, following the £80 million purchase of 1.2 acres of land next to the club's home.

It was bought from the Stoll charity, who are active in providing housing and support services to disabled and vulnerable military veterans, the deal was concluded after nine weeks of consultations.

"I'd imagine that will be for the stadium development or to add additional commercial benefit to the club, like the hotel intended," Professor Wilson commented.

The capacity stands at around 40,000, which is far smaller than all of Chelsea's major competitors in the Premier League and across Europe, resulting in a loss of huge potential revenues compared to what their rivals can accumulate from matchdays

Tottenham can now boast to have the most modern and sophisticated stadium in London, with the new White Hart Lane holding just under 63,000.

Despite such visions, the jury is still out on BlueCo and if Boehly can repeat his success with the LA Dodgers.

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About the author

Peter Taberner


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