George Osborne is advising Todd Boley to buy Chelsea FC from sanctioned Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, according to people familiar with the matter.

The former UK chancellor, now a partner at boutique consultancy Robey Warshaw, is adding to his political experience as Boehly competes with rival billionaires to buy a Premier League team.

Boley, working with Goldman Sachs, is competing with private equity tycoons Josh Harris and David Blitzer, another led by Boston Celtics basketball co-owner Stephen Pagliuca, co-chairman of private equity firm A separate bid for Bain Capital.

Osborne, a West London fan and close to New York Times columnist and Conservative colleague Daniel Finkelstein, supports Boley, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and former president of the Guggenheim Partnership.

The involvement of Osborne and Robey Warshaw illustrates the complexity of the Chelsea auction. The issues go beyond price, ranging from the need to fund its Stamford Bridge stadium expansion to the government’s role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forcing the sale and donating the net proceeds to charity. Osborn’s role was first reported by Sky News.

A consortium of the Chicago Ricketts family, hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin and Cleveland Cavaliers basketball owner Dan Gilbert pulled out of the auction after failing to agree on the terms of the bid.

Bidders must submit detailed offers by Thursday.

Merchant bankers at the Raine Group are working on the deal.

Because of the sanctions on Abramovich, any deal would require special approval from the British government.

Osborne left the Evening Standard and asset manager BlackRock last year when he joined Robey Warshaw.

It has advised on some of the UK’s most high-profile deals, such as London Stock Exchange Group’s $27bn acquisition of data provider Refinitiv and Macquarie’s £4.2bn acquisition of National Grid’s gas transmission and metering business controlling stake.

Last year, Osborne helped Robey Warshaw win a mandate to advise Rusal, a subsidiary of Russian metals group EN+, on a range of issues.

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