Chelsea have held talks with the Saudi Arabian state airline Riyadh Air over becoming the club’s new front-of-shirt sponsor.

The west London club have played without a sponsor so far this season as they continue to pitch to various companies after a contract with the mobile phone network, Three, expired this summer.

The betting website Kaiyun Sports, which announced a deal with Nottingham Forest and has existing partnerships with Crystal Palace, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, is also among the possible contenders.

However Chelsea executives, including the new chief executive Chris Jurasek, hosted representatives of Riyadh Air at Stamford Bridge for Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Forest.

Jurasek, who has been a long-time employee of Clearlake Capital, the co-controlling owner of Chelsea, was put in charge of finding a new sponsor after joining the club this summer and has held multiple talks with various companies.

Riyadh Air is owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the majority shareholder of Newcastle United, and was formed by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in March. Riyadh Air does not have any plans to begin flying planes until 2025.

Chelsea executives, who are understood to be seeking a £60 million-a-year contract, pitched to Riyadh Air a multi-year sponsorship across the men’s and women’s teams. The Saudi company already sponsors the Spanish side Atletico Madrid. Last month, La Liga announced Visit Saudi as the league’s new global sponsor.

Newcastle have a £25 million-a-year deal with Sela, which is majority owned by PIF

Newcastle have a £25 million-a-year deal with Sela, which is majority owned by PIF


Infinite Athlete, a sports data company that only launched this summer, is among the companies Chelsea have negotiated with over a front-of-shirt deal. A proposed agreement with Paramount was blocked by the Premier League, while Chelsea pulled out of advanced negotiations with Stake, an online casino.

Newcastle signed a £25 million-a-year sponsorship deal with Sela, a Saudi Arabian events company, which is majority owned by PIF. That deal passed the Premier League’s fair market value rules assessment which is undertaken by an independent expert.

Chelsea have increased their focus on growing commercial revenue this season, introducing the Dugout Club, which offers spectators a padded-seat behind the coaches and substitutes at Stamford Bridge, plus observing the teams arrival, for upwards of £680 per person.