A major new development in Chelsea’s ownership saga occurred Friday when the Ricketts family bid, one of four remaining groups vying to buy the club, announced it was withdrawing from the race to buy the team in an official statement. The Chicago Cubs owners and their partners decided to not submit the final and expected bid to buy the club.
The Ricketts-led group statement says: “The Ricketts-Griffin-Gilbert Group has decided, after careful consideration, not to submit a final bid for Chelsea F.C. In the process of finalizing 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.”
After this major exit in the process for the new Chelsea’s ownership there are three left possible candidates to buy the club in the next weeks: Stephen Pagliuca, the co-chair of Bain Capital and part-owner of the Boston Celtics is one strong candidate, the consortiums led by Martin Broughton and Sebastian Coe (and which includes Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris) and the one led by Los Angeles Dodgers owner Todd Boehly are the others.
The Ricketts group had met stiff opposition from fans after supporters became aware of a controversy in which Cubs owner Joe Ricketts was forced to apologize after emails he wrote containing racist language became public. The group had tried to mollify fans concerns, meeting with supporters groups and other Chelsea stakeholders in an effort to convince them that they would be worthy owners of Chelsea. Though, ultimately, it was not those fans concerns which led to the group dropping their bid, per reports.
The process of the sale of Chelsea football club is a unique one, set in motion by sanctions on current owner Roman Abramovich in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Given the uncertain nature of Chelsea’s current ownership state, the Raine Group has been overseeing the process along with input from the U.K. government, which has dictated the terms under which Chelsea is currently being run after the club was frozen along with other Abramovich assets.
Chelsea currently sit third in the Premier League with 62 points. The club was eliminated from the Champions League Tuesday by Real Madrid and will face Crystal Palace Sunday in the FA Cup semifinals.