Chelsea takeover: Ricketts family’s consortium withdraws from race

Thomas Tuchel wants Chelsea sale ‘as soon as possible’ – video Chelsea Chelsea takeover: Ricketts family’s consortium withdraws from race Fans have opposed bid but sources say withdrawal unrelated

Three consortiums remain in running to purchase the club Jacob Steinberg @JacobSteinberg Fri 15 Apr 2022 12.16 BST Share on Facebook

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The race to buy Chelsea is down to three candidates after the consortium led by the Ricketts family withdrew on Friday.

In a statement the group said: “The Ricketts-Griffin-Gilbert Group has decided, after careful consideration, not to submit a final bid for Chelsea FC. 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 fans have opposed the bid in significant numbers over historical accusations of Islamophobia, including with a protest at Stamford Bridge. The Ricketts family has said it “rejects any form of hate in the strongest possible terms” and sources said supporter opposition was not behind the withdrawal and that the move came because the consortium’s three partners could not agree on the structure of the bid.

The Ricketts had partnered with the hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin and Rock Entertainment Group, which is headed by Dan Gilbert, who is worth an estimated $31bn (£23.7bn). The Ricketts said they had planned to add Karan Bilimoria, a Tory peer, Chelsea fan and the founder of Cobra Beer, to the board.

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Final offers to buy Chelsea had to be submitted on Thursday and a preferred bidder could be selected next week.

Those remaining in contention are a consortium led by the co-owner of the LA Dodgers, Todd Boehly; a consortium fronted by Sir Martin Broughton and Sebastian Coe that has received backing from the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team, Josh Harris and David Blitzer; and a bid led by the Boston Celtics’ co-owner Steve Pagliuca.

The merits of each offer are being assessed by Roman Abramovich and Chelsea’s board, and Raine, the American bank handling the sale, will take a preferred bidder to the UK government for approval.

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