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Final bids for Chelsea to be submitted by April 11


The four contenders vying to buy Chelsea will submit final bids on April 11, paving the way for a prospective new owner to seek government permission to take over from Roman Abramovich by the end of next month.

Sky News has learnt the remaining contenders have been notified by Raine Group, the merchant bank handling the Blues' sale, that binding offers must be made on or around that date - which falls the day before the second leg of a Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid.

Bidders - who include several US sports franchise-owning billionaires - will have the opportunity to improve their offers from the indicative proposals which saw them make it through to the final stages of one of the most extraordinary corporate auctions of recent times.

The quartet of contenders had been told by Raine on Saturday they must commit at least £1bn to future investment in the club if they are to succeed in the battle to end Abramovich's two-decade tenure.

The additional funding must be made available for the Blues' Stamford Bridge stadium, playing squad and other areas of development.

Raine's insistence on the pool of capital for investment is likely to go some way to reassuring supporters its new owner will continue to back it with the kind of significant financial resource they have become accustomed to under the Russian-born businessman.

All four of the remaining bidders have significant experience in sports stadium infrastructure, a key consideration given Chelsea's long-standing dilemma about the expansion of Stamford Bridge, which has a capacity barely half that of Manchester United's Old Trafford home.


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