The Ricketts family, who own the Chicago Cubs, have confirmed they will submit a bid to buy Chelsea as part of an American consortium.
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They say they will be “leading an investment group” that will make a bid for Chelsea on Friday (March 18), which is the deadline set by The Raine Group, the bank handling the sale of the club.
Several other groups are also trying to buy the club after Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had his assets frozen, including Chelsea, as the UK government said in a statement that “Roman Abramovich is a prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch” and that he has “had a close relationship with Vladimir Putin for decades.”
Due to sanctions, Abramovich is not allowed to make any money from the sale of the club (which will need a special licence granted by the UK government to happen) with bids reportedly coming in for around $3.5 billion.
Due to the sanctions on Abramovich, Chelsea were handed a temporary licence to operate until May 31, 2022, but that license has several restrictions on it and means a quick sale of the club is needed to safeguard Chelsea’s future.
Statement from the Ricketts family
Here is the statement released by the owner of the Ricketts family, as other reports say they are linking up with billionaire hedge fund tycoon Ken Griffin.
“The Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, can confirm they will be leading an investment group that will make a formal bid for Chelsea Football Club this Friday (March 18). As long-time operators of an iconic professional sports team, the Ricketts family and their partners understand the importance of investing for success on the pitch, while respecting the traditions of the club, the fans and the community. We look forward to sharing further details of our plans in due course.”
The Ricketts family have owned the Chicago Cubs since 2009 and in 2016 led them to their first World Series title since 1908.
There are many similarities between the tradition of Chelsea and the Cubs, as both clubs are a huge part of the local community and their traditional, old school home stadiums are revered.
What is going on?
After Russian owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK and had all of his assets, including Chelsea, frozen by the government, Chelsea have been in turmoil.
The license issued to Chelsea has severe restrictions and means the club cannot generate any revenue from match tickets, club merchandise and cannot offer new contracts to players or buy and sell players.
Per the UK government, they have said they are willing to grant Chelsea Football Club a new operating license if a new buyer is found. But under the condition that Roman Abramovich does not receive a single penny from the sale of the club. If that happens, the UK government will sanction the sale of the club.
Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and has bankrolled their incredible period of success on the pitch over the last 19 years, as they’ve won every major trophy available.
Who is the running to buy Chelsea?
A Saudi Arabian consortium has reportedly bid $3.5 billion to buy Chelsea, as a report says that Chelsea fan Mohamed Alkhereiji is leading the bid, which is not linked to the Saudi Arabian government and is a private bid. Per the report, there is funding from Mohammed bin Khalid Al Saud who is the chair of Saudi Telecom Company (STC) which is owned by the Saudi Arabian state.
Elsewhere, part-owner of the L.A. Dodgers Todd Boehly has joined Swiss businessman Hansjorg Wyss to make a bid as part of a consortium, while Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak has previously said he has tabled an offer to buy the Blues.
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson has been linked with a bid for Chelsea, while billionaire Josh Harris — already invested in Crystal Palace — owns the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers and he is also interested in buying Chelsea.
British luxury property developer Nick Candy, who is a Chelsea season ticket holder, is said to be ready to table a bid as the leader of a consortium, but some of those details are still being worked out.
The Raine Group previously stated that well over 100 enquiries have been made to buy the club, so there is no shortage of interest from those trying to secure Chelsea’s future.