The Daily Mail reports that Chelsea face the very real prospect of going out of business and not being able to play in the Premier League next season.
The government is said to be concerned that the £4.25 billion proposed sale, that would see American Todd Boehly take control, is in danger of collapse.
The newspaper claims that Roman Abramovich is refusing to accept a new sale structure that would allow Boehly to take over as the owner of Chelsea.
It is not quite clear what will happen if the deal fails to happen but Chelsea face the prospect of existing in limbo, without a licence to play in either the Premier League or in European competition.
That would mean, surely, that the Premier League would be plunged into crisis and would need to find a way to deal with the Blues not being able to play in English competition.
It may mean that the fifth-placed team would be promoted to the Champions League, while there is the potential of West Ham climbing a place as a result, too. They would either finish fifth or sixth in this scenario and both would mean Europa League qualification.
Abramovich has been sanctioned by the government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The final deadline for the deal to be completed is in two weeks but there is a £1.6 billion loan that is at the centre of the row.
The money is said to be owed from Chelsea’s parent company, Fordstam Ltd, to Camberley International in Jersey. That company is suggested to have links with Abramovich.
The Conservative government have repeatedly made it clear that they will not allow Chelsea to be sold if a single penny is set to end up in Abramovich’s pocket.
Ministers instead want to hold the money in an account before they are satisfied that the cash will go directly to a charity for victims of the ongoing Ukrainian conflict.
Chelsea’s licence to operate as a club expires on May 31 and any deal must be completed before then, with the approval of both the government and the relevant footballing authorities.