The Ricketts family are reportedly flying to London to meet Chelsea’s key stakeholders precisely Chelsea Pitch Owners and Chelsea Supporters’ Trust in order to mitigate existing tensions
Ever since Ricketts family’s name has started surfacing on the possible Chelsea takeover front, it has engendered a lot of controversy which is unlikely to die down any time soon.
Ricketts family, who owns the baseball franchise called Chicago Cubs, readied themselves to bid for Chelsea as soon as Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale. The family partnered up with billionaire Ken Griffin to push for the bid and are now among the frontrunners in the race to secure ownership of Chelsea.
However, Chelsea supporters were left concerned about Ricketts’ potential involvement with the club, after patriarch Joe Ricketts‘ leaked emails dating back to 2012/2014 resurfaced that revealed racist and anti-Muslim sentiments. The content of the emails contained statements like, ‘Muslims are my enemy’, describing Islam as a ‘cult’.
Ricketts was since forced to apologise for the racially insensitive statements. Taking the matter to the press, Joe Ricketts said;
‘I deeply regret and apologize for some of the exchanges I had in my emails. Sometimes I received emails that I should have condemned,
‘Other times I’ve said things that don’t reflect my value system. I strongly believe that bigoted ideas are wrong’.
Thousands of Chelsea fans took to social media to rally behind the campagin against allowing the Ricketts family to take control of Chelsea. The hashtag #NoToRicketts soon started trending all over Twitter.
Brian Wolff, head of Chelsea Chicago Supporters Club, took to his twitter on Monday, posting a letter opposing the Ricketts’ possible takeover of the club. His letter entailed;
“As the head of Chelsea Chicago Supporters Club, and the Chelsea Fans’ Forum Overseas Representative, I’ve had a unique position hearing what supporters in Chicago and worldwide have said regarding the Ricketts family’s bid for Chelsea. I can report the vast majority of opinion has been universal disdain.
“Their ownership of the Chicago Cubs baseball and redevelopment of Wrigley Field raises serious doubts whether they will build upon the Club’s success on the pitch, and also the continued existence of the Chelsea Pitch Owners and the goal to keep Chelsea Football Club playing at Stamford Bridge as our forever home.
“On behalf of countless supporters worldwide, I urge you to reject their bid for ownership of Chelsea Football Club in favour of others who will commit to not only building upon the last two decades of investment in players and infrastructure but equally important – the investment in supporters and the values which we hold dear.
“If not, I fear many Chelsea supporters WILL ‘be booing in a year.”
Tonight as part of the Fans Forum meeting I provided the following statement to the Board at Chelsea FC. For confidentiality, I will not comment on any further discussions. #SayNoToGoCubsGo @CFCDaily @siphillipssport @JoeRavitch @colinmneville @CFCInAmerica pic.twitter.com/ymWbz8jpSI
— Baku Brian (@brienwulff) March 21, 2022
This will likely threaten to upset the status quo of Ricketts’ family, considering the magnitude of opposition from fans and supporters. Such pronounced mass organisation channeling discontent could result in negatively impacting the success rate of Ricketts family in the takeover competition.
Knowing a lot was at stake, the Ricketts family issued a statement on Wednesday, in response to the growing scrutiny around their name. The statement followed;
“Our family rejects any form of hate in the strongest possible terms. Racism and Islamophobia have no place whatsoever in our society. We have developed deep and abiding partnerships with the Muslim community in Chicago, as well as with all communities of colour.
“Respect for diversity and inclusion are central to our family’s values. If we prevail in our bid for Chelsea, we commit to the club and to the fans that we will actively promote these values”.
However, the fans are far from convinced. Chelsea’s first black footballer, Paul Canoville, encouraged the fans to let their feelings known to the family. He said on his social media;
“So I’ve seen and heard enough. I’m backing Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and saying a big fat anti-racism NO to the Ricketts bid”.
— Paul Canoville (@Kingcanners) March 22, 2022
The fans also voiced their concerns regarding Antonio Rüdiger, N’Golo Kante, Malang Sarr and Hakim Ziyech being black and/or Muslims saying Ricketts’ takeover of the club will leave these players uncomfortable, causing their sense of security to be compromised.
According to BBC Sport, a source close to the family has reassured that Joe Ricketts would have no role or involvement in the bid for Chelsea. Instead, the consortium is being headed up solely by his children.
Ricketts family were believed to be facilitating conversations with Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO) and Chelsea Supporters ‘Trust (CST), first, to address the prevailing conflict and fragility, perhaps as part of damage control. Second, to discuss plans regarding the future of the club.
However, the increasing backlash from fans and supporters will become a tough challenge for the family to navigate now, especially, since the competition is growing fierce among the bidders. The Raine Group are advised to filter out all ‘politically sensitive’ parties which likely include those with negative PR as well.
The decision from Raine Group is likely to come this weekend, with the sale process to be completed within a month.
WATCH: Chelsea’s out-of-favour striker Romelu Lukaku scores twice in action-packed second half 🔥
Romelu Lukaku scores twice v Wolves: Chelsea welcomed Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge tonight in a contest where they were hopeful of reversing their poor run of form to guarantee themselves a Champions League berth.
Despite the Blues receiving two goal scoring opportunities in the first-half of the game, it still ended in a stalemate. However, as the second-half commenced, Romelu Lukaku stepped up to strike twice in quick succession to put Chelsea on a trajectory toward what appeared to be a deserved victory at that time.
Lukaku’s goal tally for Chelsea this season has totalled up to 14 now, causing him to become the highest goal scorer for the Blues, just a goal ahead of Kai Havertz. His performance tonight underlines his renewed confidence as he looks to be approaching the sort of form that had deserted him for most of the season.
Romelu Lukaku hadn’t scored in the Premier League since December 29th.
129 days later and he's got a brace in 3 minutes ⚽⚽ pic.twitter.com/FzZx49vvHw
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 7, 2022
Watch how Romelu Lukaku scores twice in quick succession to give Chelsea’s scoreline an uplift:
The first goal came in response to a VAR call for a foul committed by Saiss on Romelu Lukaku as both players were caught up in a tangle on the edge of the penalty area.
Watch Lukaku’s left-footed penalty here:
The second goal was a Pulisic interception that found Lukaku who then completed the play with an emphatic low finish from the edge of the box with his weaker right foot.
Romelu Lukaku gets his brace with an assist from Christian Pulisic!
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) May 7, 2022
Lukaku wasn’t able to register himself on the scoresheet for Chelsea ever since the start of year 2022 – a daunting prospect for such an expensive striker – however, that record has been laid to rest today as his goals v Wolves have certainly managed to make a statement of his intent.
It’s a shame that a subpar defensive performance from his side overshadowed his monumental return to form. Chelsea were stripped to bone with comeback goals from Wolves that added misery to Chelsea’s hopes of securing a victory. The game ended in an unanticipated 2-2 draw.
After racking up underwhelming results from their recent run-ins, Chelsea are looking a lot less comfortable in the rough and tumble of Premier League’s top-four now. With the fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck, their margin for error has now decreased to just two points, especially after having picked up only 5 points from a possible 15.
Official: Todd Boehly’s consortium signs agreement with Chelsea FC to succeed Roman Abramovich
Chelsea released an official statement in the early hours of Saturday morning confirming that the terms have been agreed with the LA Dodgers’ part-owner Todd Boehly’s consortium to complete the £4.25bn takeover of the club though the acquisition is yet to be approved by the Premier League authorities as well as the UK government.
The statement read:
‘Chelsea Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club’.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 7, 2022
🚨🔵 Official. Chelsea statement now confirms that “terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club”. #CFC
It’s the end of Roman Abramovich era. pic.twitter.com/fTw5EMdd8p
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 7, 2022
Last week, it was revealed that Todd Boehly & Co were Raine Group’s preferred choice to succeed Roman Abramovich following which the group were given one-week window of exclusive negotiations with the club to finalise the takeover. The deal had appeared in doubt due to late interest from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, however, those fears were dissipated as the Ratcliffe bid was later dismissed on account of his inability to complete the sale process by May 31st – the date when Chelsea’s current license expires.
Although the group is fronted by Todd Boehly, private equity firm Clearlake Capital is the one providing the majority of the financial firepower to it. The consortium also includes Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, Boehly’s fellow LA Dodgers’ owner Mark Walter and the British property developer Jonathan Goldstein.
As per Chelsea’s official statement, the £4.25bn headline sum includes the £2.5bn cost required to secure shares in Chelsea – which will go into a frozen UK bank account for the purpose of releasing 100 per cent of the proceeds to charitable causes – the remaining £1.75bn is the amount the group have committed to invest in the club’s future, covering costs regarding redevelopment projects and ensuring there are sufficient funds in place for operational use.
‘The proposed new owners will commit £1.75bn in further investment for the benefit of the Club. This includes investments in Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team and Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation’.
The Clause also placed a limit on the debt the new owners can place on the club.
It also made sure the group pledged £1.75B to be invested in Chelsea's male and female teams, the academy, stadium, and the Chelsea Foundation.
Roman Abramovich secured Chelsea for at least 10yrs. pic.twitter.com/RhZ985Vuxq
— SportsDokita (Odogwu ☝️) (@Sports_Doctor2) May 7, 2022
Few final, obligatory steps remain in the official transfer of ownership of Chelsea Football Club to Todd Boehly’s consortium, one of which requires all group members to complete the Premier League Owners’ and Directors’ Test. Furthermore, Chelsea will have to apply for the amended license from the UK government that would upgrade the club’s operational capacity in addition to allowing the transaction to go ahead. The preparations are underway as the Raine Group wants the sale process to reach its completion as soon as possible.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Four players on the injury list, including a midfield duo.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Chelsea welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge on Saturday where they will be looking to reverse their poor run of form to guarantee themselves a Champions League berth. There are four player absentees that have been confirmed so far by head coach, Thomas Tuchel, in today’s pre-match conference.
After racking up underwhelming results from their recent run-ins, Chelsea are looking a lot less comfortable in the rough and tumble of Premier League’s top-four now. With the fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck, their margin for error has now decreased to just three points, especially after having picked up only 4 points from a possible 12.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: The central midfield duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are ruled out of action for tomorrow’s clash as reported by Thomas Tuchel at a press briefing today.
Additionally, the long-term absentees Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell also remain restricted to the sidelines, despite returning to light training.
— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) May 6, 2022
N’Golo Kante had sustained a knock in the game against Manchester United, consequently missing last weekend’s trip to Everton where his fellow midfielder Jorginho was taken off the pitch at interval.
‘For N’Golo it comes too early. Jorginho is out as well, these two are missing. Callum and Ben Chilwell are still out,’ said the Blues boss.
The duo’s unavailability will give way to introducing Kovačić and most likely RLC in their stead as the latter is currently enjoying an upturn in form.
Mateo Kovačić returned to action as a half-time substitute last weekend after missing a couple games on account of nursing an ankle injury. He stands the highest chance of featuring a start in tomorrow’s game v Wolves.
There is a growing feeling that Tuchel might give Romelu Lukaku a start tomorrow, considering his substitute Kai Havertz is also struggling to find the form that has recently deserted him.
Thomas Tuchel has expressed optimism regarding Lukaku’s reaction in training this week. The Blues boss said;
‘I want him to be an important part of the squad, right now he is very important. There is no recruitment and no players are about to leave because it’s simply not possible,’
‘We need to adapt all the time, to contractual situations and also individual situations, to what we and the players want.
‘We signed a big player, he is a big player. He didn’t come on [at Everton] as we had only three changes, and unfortunately we used one at half-time with Jorginho. Otherwise there was a huge chance we had the same changes as against West Ham, with Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech,’
‘He trained very well, maybe he starts tomorrow, we’ll see.’
🗣️ "Maybe starts tomorrow, let's see." 👀
Thomas Tuchel says he wants Romelu Lukaku to be an important part of the squad next season and discusses why he wasn't played against Everton 🔵 pic.twitter.com/n8Lf0sEvRP
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 6, 2022