Ricketts family bid for Chelsea entirely funded by cash

Four consortiums are vying to buy the Premier League club from Roman Abramovich.

Nick Purewal
Friday 01 April 2022 18:01 BST
Stamford Bridge, pictured, will soon play host to new Chelsea owners (Stefan Roussea/PA)
Stamford Bridge, pictured, will soon play host to new Chelsea owners (Stefan Roussea/PA)

The Ricketts family’s bid to buy Chelsea is entirely funded by cash, the PA news agency understands.

The Chicago Cubs-owning Ricketts are among the final four bidders looking to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich.

The Ricketts, for whom siblings Tom and Laura are fronting the family’s candidacy, have been adding advisory partners in fine-tuning their bid ahead of the April 11 deadline for improved offers, but were understood to have no need of extra investment.

Roman Abramovich, pictured, will sell Chelsea after 19 years owning the Stamford Bridge club (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

US hedge fund supremo Ken Griffin has added his significant personal financial clout behind the Ricketts’ bid.

And it is understood the Ricketts’ offer involves no equity whatsoever, which underpins the family’s drive to keep Chelsea at the world game’s pinnacle.

The Ricketts’ proposal for a cash purchase would allow the Cubs owners to take the Blues forward unencumbered, should their bid prove successful.

Chelsea fans have launched a sustained social media protest against the Ricketts’ candidacy, and are planning in-person protests at Stamford Bridge ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Brentford.

But the Ricketts family are understood to be determined to allay the main fears among those protesting Blues supporters.

Sir Martin Broughton, pictured, heads up a consortium bid to buy Chelsea (Peter Byrne/PA)

Tom Ricketts has already held meetings and had conversations with prominent Chelsea supporters and groups, and will continue those efforts.

Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

The 55-year-old was then sanctioned by the UK Government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his links to Russia President Vladimir Putin.

Chelsea have been granted a special Government licence to continue operating, though under strict terms.

Abramovich cannot profit from Chelsea’s sale, but had already vowed to write off the club’s £1.5billion debt.

As well as the Ricketts family, the remaining contenders looking to buy the club are LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly and British business titan Jonathan Goldstein, Sir Martin Broughton and Lord Sebastian Coe, and Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca.

All four bidders are busy sharpening their submissions, and could yet raise the value of their offers for the Blues.

Paul Canoville, pictured, met with Tom Ricketts and hopes to meet all the bidders for Chelsea (Adam Davy/PA)

Tom Ricketts last week met with Paul Canoville, Chelsea’s first black player, to apologise for father Joe Ricketts’ historic Islamophobic comments and set out his stall for the Stamford Bridge club’s future.

Tom and Laura Ricketts have worked hard to build links with Chicago’s Muslim community after Joe’s comments from 2019.

Brother Pete Ricketts has been linked to anti-LGBTQ sentiment, but is not involved in either the Chelsea bid or the Cubs.

Laura Ricketts in contrast is the first openly gay owner of a major American sports franchise in her co-chair role at the Cubs.

Thomas Tuchel, pictured, may meet with the groups bidding to buy Chelsea (Joe Giddens/PA)

A major campaigner for LGBTQ rights, Laura Ricketts is a member of the Barack Obama Foundation’s Inclusion Council and has received long-standing backing from the former US President.

The rival bidders for Chelsea will have the chance to meet with Stamford Bridge club executives next week, and potentially even manager Thomas Tuchel.

When asked on Friday if he would meet the bidders, Tuchel replied: “I’m not sure if they want to and I’m not sure if I should!

“I don’t know if it’s a good idea or a bad idea. Maybe it’s best to be involved, if I am involved, as late as possible.

“I’m not sure if I could tell you the names of the consortiums and new bidders.

“It is my information that it is down to four and in the next weeks there should be further talks and negotiations.”

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