Chelsea takeover: Ricketts family-led group pulls out of running to buy club

Last updated on .From the section Chelsea

Chelsea fans protested against the Ricketts family’s bid for the club earlier in April

The Ricketts family-led consortium has pulled out of the running to buy Chelsea because of “unusual dynamics around the sales process”.

The family, which owns MLB side the Chicago Cubs, had made the shortlist of bidders to buy the club but have now opted not to make a final bid.

The consortium included billionaire hedge-fund entrepreneur Ken Griffin and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

Chelsea fans protested against the consortium’s bid in recent weeks.

There were concerns over the bid after it emerged that the family’s patriarch, Joe Ricketts, was accused of Islamophobia three years ago, while the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST) said it opposed the group.

It is understood the decision to withdraw is not related to the backlash from fans, but because the three parties involved could not come to an agreement on the terms of the deal.

“The Ricketts-Griffin-Gilbert Group has decided, after careful consideration, not to submit a final bid for Chelsea,” the group said in a statement release on Friday.

“In the process of finalising their proposal, it became increasingly clear that certain issues could not be addressed given the unusual dynamics around the sales process. We have great admiration for Chelsea and its fans, and we wish the new owners well.”

Chelsea are operating under a special licence from the UK government after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned.

Abramovich put the club up for sale before he was sanctioned for his alleged links to Russian president Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.

The initial date for final offers for the Stamford Bridge side had been Monday, 11 April, but was then pushed back three days to Thursday.

The remaining bidders are a consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, a British bid led by Sir Martin Broughton and one led by co-owner of the Boston Celtics Stephen Pagliuca.

American investment firm Raine Group has been tasked with selling Chelsea and the UK government is expected to issue a new licence, allowing the club to be sold once a preferred buyer has been identified.

Any sale must be signed off by the bidder passing the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test.