A shortlist to takeover Chelsea FC has been announced as four bidders look to buy the club following Roman Abramovich’s sanction by the UK government.
As reported by Sky News, the remaining contenders have been notified by Raine Group which has been handling the sale. These include: Todd Boehly-led consortium, Sir Martin Broughton’s group, the Ricketts family and Boston Celtics Co-Owner Stephen Pagliuca.
The interest of the Ricketts has been met with criticism with the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust stating that despite a meeting with the family: “our concerns about their ability to run an inclusive, successful club on behalf of our diverse supporter base around the world have not yet been allayed.”
Tom Ricketts responded: “We have listened to all of your feedback – including from the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust – and are grateful that the door is still open for us to demonstrate our commitment to working with fans to protect the club’s heritage.
“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.”
Furthemore, Pagliuca, who has received significantly less coverage in the media, would have to cease being a shareholder in the Serie A club Atalanta if he was to buy the club.
Additionally, the four contenders had been told that they must commit to £1bn of future investment in the club if they are to end Abramovich’s two-decade ownership, whilst the additional funding must be made available for Stamford Bridge, the playing squad and further developments.
The Guardian also reported that Boehly ‘confidently’ joined the bid with investors including Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss and Jonathan Goldstein, CEO of Cain International, who are believed to be one of the first to bid.
Additionally, Broughton is also a Chelsea fan and is also joined by another on his side – Sebastian Coe. Backers include US investors Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who own the Philadelphia 76ers basketball franchise and are Crystal Palace shareholders. Similarly to Pagliuca, they would have to end their involvement with Palace if selected to buy Chelsea.
It has been suggested that Saudi Media Group also put forward a bid but was rejected by Raine, with the final decision to now be referred to the Premier League for consideration under its owners’ and directors’ test.
All four bidding groups have now been given a deadline of 11 April to submit their formal offers to buy the club, as financial concerns for the European Champions dictate that stakeholders prefer a finalided deal by the end of next month.