Chelsea bidders reveal new details as sales process heats up

Final offers are being prepared for European champion Chelsea and new business figures are being added to the consortia as the process to end the ownership of sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich intensifies.

Four known offers are still under consideration to buy Chelsea, who could be sold for 3 billion pounds ($4 billion) given the interest that has arisen since Abramovich put the club up for sale. West London Premier League six weeks ago.

Steve Pagliuca, co-owner of the NBA’s Boston Celtics, made public for the first time on Tuesday his intention to own a Premier League team, which could see him having to give up his 55% majority stake in the team. of Serie A Atalanta.

The American cannot control two clubs playing in the same European competition organized by UEFA, although Atalanta are not in contention for next season’s qualifier.

“Later this week, we will submit a substantial and credible nomination proposal,” Pagliuca said in a statement. “Whoever we believe will meet the respective requirements and regulations of the Premier League, UK Government and UEFA – and we are committed to honoring our commitment to the credibility and good stewardship of Chelsea Football Club from day one. .”

Another bid, led by Chicago Cubs baseball owner Tom Ricketts, has been surrounded by criticism over Islamophobic comments from his father, Joe, that appeared in leaked emails three years ago. The Ricketts family have been scrambling to distance themselves from the patriarch, and another business leader was announced as a new figurehead involved in the bid on Tuesday.

Karan Bilimoria, a Chelsea fan who founded the Cobra beer company in west London in 1989 and sits in the House of Lords, will become club manager if the Ricketts’ bid is successful and serve as an ambassador.

“Tom and the wider group have a proven track record of running successful sports teams and a strong vision for both the club and the local community,” Bilimoria said in a statement.

Bilimoria is the outgoing President of the Confederation of British Industry.

“We have always been clear that having local expertise and perspectives is essential to our bid,” Tom Ricketts said in a statement. “Given Lord Bilimoria’s unrivaled credentials and love for Chelsea, he is the perfect addition to our team.”

A competing bid features an existing US investor in a Premier League team: Josh Harris has a 17% stake in south London club Crystal Palace. Harris, who also owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, is part of a consortium led by former Liverpool and British Airways chairman Martin Broughton and World Athletics chairman Sebastian Coe.

A fourth consortium includes Todd Boehly, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and Jonathan Goldstein, a London-based property investor and CEO of Cain International.

Abramovich was forced to sell Chelsea after being sanctioned in Britain and his assets frozen as part of a crackdown on oligarchs following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The government must approve the sale, which is being overseen by New York-based investment bank Raine Group, on terms that allow the team to continue operating since Abramovich was sanctioned. Abramovich cannot profit from the proceeds of the sale.

“Our role is to consider an amended license application which allows the club to be sold when it comes up with a preferred bidder,” the UK government said in a statement.

Chelsea have won 21 trophies in Abramovich’s 19 years of ownership, building on his lavish investment to become one of Europe’s most successful clubs.

A new owner’s ability to pursue significant player funding could help determine which offer prevails.

“Our first goal is to make strategic investments to continue competing for championships and trophies,” Pagliuca said. “We will support our players and managers to ensure that Chelsea are the usual winners and title contenders, whether in the Premier League, Champions League or Women’s Super League.

“Furthermore, we will continue to invest in the youth academy to develop the stars of the future and we wouldn’t be in this process if we didn’t have an exciting and inclusive vision for Chelsea.”

There is a long-term need to revamp Stamford Bridge to generate more revenue from fans and businesses. Chelsea have the smallest and most dated stadium of the Premier League’s most successful clubs, with plans to rebuild the 41,000-seater site put on hold by Abramovich in 2018 as Anglo-Russian diplomatic tensions escalated. were intensifying.

“Not only are we committed to staying at Chelsea’s home of Stamford Bridge,” Pagliuca said, “but we are inspired to renovate or redesign the stadium. Chelsea are a world-class team, in a world-class city, with world-class supporters: it deserves a world-class stadium.”


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