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Ricketts Bid Added To Shortlist For Chelsea Takeover

REUTERS/David Klein

The Ricketts family has been included on the shortlist to buy Premier League club Chelsea, a source close to the deal told Reuters on Friday, joining groups led by Martin Broughton and Todd Boehly as the other two bids in the fray.

Sources said U.S. Bank Raine Group, which is overseeing the sale, are still considering adding more to the shortlist, with British media reporting that Stephen Pagliuca, joint owner of NBA team Boston Celtics, could also be in the running.

Earlier on Friday, the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST) said the Ricketts family, who own the Chicago Cubs — had to demonstrate how they would address supporter concerns with regard to inclusivity.

“They must do so publicly and they must do so urgently,” CST said in a statement.

The family recently declared “diversity is central to our values” after a fan backlash over previous racist remarks and also met with supporters earlier this week. read more

“If they are unable to… gain the confidence of Chelsea supporters, the CST board does not believe it would be in the best interests of our members and Chelsea supporters for their bid to succeed.”

Tom Ricketts, the son of family head Joe, told Reuters that they had listened to the feedback, including from CST, and were grateful that the door was still open to them to demonstrate their commitment to working with fans.

“It’s clear you have nothing but the best interests of the club at heart,” he said.

“It is now up to us to redouble our efforts and clearly lay out a vision for our stewardship of the club with diversity and inclusion at its heart.”

The group led British Airways Chairman Broughton, who is also a former chairman of Liverpool Football Club, includes World Athletics President Sebastian Coe and wealthy investors from around the world, who the group says all want to maintain Chelsea’s top status.

Boehly’s group includes investors Hansjorg Wyss and Jonathan Goldstein.

FOR SALE

Chelsea was put up for sale by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He said proceeds from the sale would go to charity.

Abramovich was sanctioned by Britain this month, so the winning bidder for Chelsea would need to be greenlighted by the government.

Private equity veterans Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who own sport teams including the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers, are also backing Broughton’s bid.

The duo would have to divest their 40% stake in Crystal Palace, another English team, if their bid succeeds.

Other bidders are expecting to hear back from Raine on whether they had made the narrowed shortlist. Bid revisions had slowed the process. read more

Another group, Saudi Media, failed to make the shortlist, an advisor to the group told Reuters on Thursday, while Sky News had reported that other bidders including Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, had also been eliminated.

Hedge fund Elliott Management, which owns Italian clube AC Milan, has joined the Nick Candy-led Blue Football consortium as a “minor investor” in their bid for Chelsea, sources close to the bid said.

“We continue to evaluate and participate in meaningful conversations in the bidding process. Nick has always made it clear that the fans and safeguarding the future of the club are his only interests in this process,” a spokesperson for Candy told Reuters.

London-based global investment firm Centricus also said they had offered to buy Chelsea, a move driven by co-founder Nizar Al-Bassam and CEO Garth Ritchie, who are reported to be season-ticket holders.

Chelsea are currently operating under a special licence, which the British government amended this week to allow fans to buy tickets to away games, Cup games and women’s fixtures. read more

The club will not receive revenue from ticket sales, with all proceeds going to relevant competition organisers.

Reuters

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