Chelsea to confirm multi-club model plan after buying stake in Ligue 1 club

Confirmation expected imminently around purchase of significant stake in Ligue 1 side Strasbourg after Todd Boehly outlined plans to create pathway to first team at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea will become the latest Premier League side to head a multi-club model after a deal was struck for Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital to buy a significant stake in Ligue 1 outfit Strasbourg.

And the US-based owners are now expected to pursue a deal to purchase shares in a Portuguese club after Boehly previously spoke about developing “pathways for our young superstars to get on to the Chelsea pitch.”

Confirmation of the deal, which will see Chelsea’s owners purchase a major stake in Strasbourg, is expected soon but supporters of the Ligue 1 side are already airing grievances.

Strasbourg will be viewed as a way for Chelsea to blood young players and in some instances enable foreign players to accrue enough points to get through the governing body exemption rules introduced by The FA following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Within four months of taking over at Chelsea Boehly said the new owners “had talked about having a multi-club model” to “show pathways for our young superstars to get on to the Chelsea pitch while getting them real game time.”

Chelsea stepped up their interest in pursuing a multi-club model after Aleksander Ceferin, the UEFA president, said in March that the governing body was looking at a change to rules that currently bans clubs with the same majority owners from competing in the same competition.

“We’ve had five or six owners of clubs who want to buy another club,” Ceferin told The Overlap in March. “We have to see what to do. The options are that it stays like that or that we allow them to play in the same competition. I’m not sure yet.

“We have to speak about these regulations and see what to do about it. There is more and more interest in this multi-club ownership. We shouldn’t just say no for the investments for multi-club ownership, but we have to see what kind of rules we set in that case, because the rules have to be strict.”

Amanda Staveley, the Newcastle United director, has previously placed on record their intention to develop a similar model to Manchester City, who now own 13 clubs across six continents.

Strasbourg are one of many French clubs looking for investment and their president Marc Keller had confirmed talks with Chelsea in early spring. “I’m meeting people, from Chelsea and elsewhere, but nothing is done as it stands,” he told l’Equipe at the time. “The other shareholders and I have a sense of responsibility and will be careful regarding the profile of potential investors, whatever their nationality.”

Keller, a former player who may end up becoming the next chief of the French Football Federation, had also made a trip to their Cobham training ground last month. It was initially thought that a deal would see Boehly and Clearlake purchase about 40% of the club but they have instead purchased almost a complete stake.

Chelsea previously had offers to purchase stakes in Bordeaux and Sochaux rejected while an offer to buy a slice of Portimonense in Portugal has been knocked back. They have also looked at Portuguese side Rio Ave and may look to invest in a South American club having previously made enquiries at Brazilian club Santos.

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