The Ricketts family’s constantly evolving bid has now demonstrated a compelling commitment of upgrading Stamford Bridge as part of their key proposal, along with bold promises about greater diversity, after receiving backlash from supporters following patriarch Joe Ricketts’ disgusting racist and anti-Muslim sentiments.
Ricketts Family is among the final 4 bidders competing to take over Chelsea from Roman Abramovich. The bid is fronted by siblings; Tom Ricketts and Laura Ricketts with the financial backing from hedge fund tycoon, Ken Griffin and now, Cleveland Cavaliers owner, Dan Gillbert as well. Such strong financial muscle sure has soldified and fine-tuned their bid, which now seems to retain potentially advantageous status among the Chelsea brass despite Chelsea fans strongly opposing it.
EXCLUSIVE: Rock Entertainment Group, owner of a string of US sports teams and backed by Dan Gilbert, one of America's richest men, has agreed to back the bid for Chelsea Football Club being led by the Ricketts family and hedge fund tycoon Ken Griffin. https://t.co/Yu1SqRjzkc
— Mark Kleinman (@MarkKleinmanSky) April 2, 2022
Two hours before Chelsea v Brentford kick-off, that was set to be played on Saturday, hundreds of Chelsea supporters gathered outside Stamford Bridge to protest against the Ricketts.
The voices of dissent grew louder and louder not just on the streets but across social media as well.
As I understand it, the Ricketts family are not put off by protests against them at Chelsea’s game with Brentford. They want further engagement with fan groups. Optics of the sale is so key (they can’t be chosen in the current mood) but Buck does believe their bid is strong.
— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) April 2, 2022
Earlier in the day, the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST) had issued results of a snap-survey, which showed the percentage of the members who had no confidence in the Ricketts family. The statement issued by them entailed;
‘We asked our membership whether, based on information in the public domain as of 1 April, they had confidence that the Ricketts family would run an inclusive and successful club, and we asked whether they supported the Ricketts family’s bid,’
‘Our members have given a clear message in this regard. Seventy two per cent of those who responded do not currently have confidence that the Ricketts family would run an inclusive and successful club, with five per cent of respondents believing they would.
‘Similarly, 77 per cent of members who responded do not support the Ricketts family’s bid for Chelsea FC and three per cent of respondents are in support’.
In response to the latest protest, Tom Ricketts issued a statement, once again reiterating their ‘diversity and inclusion’ stance;
“Over the past fortnight, our bid team has met with several supporter groups to explain our vision for Chelsea Football Club,”
“In those meetings, and by letter to all groups, we have shared a set of specific commitments we will make to fans, if our bid is successful.
“We believe these are far-reaching and certainly include an absolute commitment on the part of the Ricketts family and the bid team to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of the club.
“We look forward to more meetings – including with the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust – over the coming days and to making a public reiteration of our values and commitments.”
So far, by the sound of their statement, the Ricketts family appears to have reaffirmed their commitment to diversity and inclusion in their list of promises intended for the fans.
Not just that, they also undertook to fulfill certain obligations, out of which, one was especially striking – The promise to never participate in European Super League.
This is the said list of promises presented by the Ricketts Family, as reported by Sky News:
- Make no change to the club’s name, badge and crest, or Chelsea blue, without the consent of supporters.
- Never participate in a European Super League and always protect the integrity and heritage of Chelsea F.C.
- Commit the resources necessary across all levels of the club to continue winning trophies, including investing in the first team, experienced football leadership and the Academy.
- Put diversity and inclusion at the heart of the club and fight against any form of discrimination or inequality.
- Create an Advisory Committee with diverse representation to ensure our decisions are informed by: a former men’s and women’s first team player, members of the CST and Chelsea Pitch Owners, and influential community leaders.
- Explore every option to redevelop Stamford Bridge and do everything in our power to keep playing in this historic stadium.
- Match the current commitment to Chelsea F.C. Women and increase the number of women’s matches played at Stamford Bridge.
- Continue the vital charitable work of the Chelsea Foundation, seeking to use the power of football and sport to motivate, educate and inspire.
Whether these promises would lead to tangible outcomes is yet to be seen, of course, as the decision on who takes the ownership of the club is still pending.
The shortlisted candidates have until 11th April to submit their final offers for the club.
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