Tom Ricketts and family confident of success in Chelsea buyout

Chicago Cubs owners have already been vetted after 2018 offer

Chicago Cubs chairman and prospective Chelsea owner Owner Tom Ricketts. AFP
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Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and his family have confirmed their bid for Chelsea will be submitted on Friday, ahead of the deadline for offers for the European and world club champions.

The Ricketts tabled a formal offer for the Blues in 2018, with the due diligence conducted at the time likely to boost the Chicago Cubs’ owners current approach.

US hedge fund chief Ken Griffin has partnered up on the Ricketts’ bid for the Blues, according to the PA news agency.

Rival bidder Todd Boehly also saw a previous bid for Chelsea thwarted, back in 2019, and the US sports investors’ prior knowledge of the Blues’ set-up is now understood to stand in their favour.

“The Ricketts Family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, can confirm they will be leading an investment group that will make a formal bid for Chelsea Football Club this Friday,” a spokesman for the Ricketts family said.

“As long-time operators of an iconic professional sports team, the Ricketts Family and their partners understand the importance of investing for success on the pitch, while respecting the traditions of the club, the fans and the community.

“We look forward to sharing further details of our plans in due course.”

Blues owner Roman Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, but was then sanctioned by the UK Government last week.

Abramovich’s UK assets are frozen except for Chelsea, with the Stamford Bridge club operating under special government licence.

The 55-year-old Russian-Israeli billionaire cannot profit from the Blues nor the club’s sale, with the Treasury overseeing the process.

Chelsea and the government both want a quick sale, with the Blues continuing to lobby Downing Street over relaxations to the stringent terms of their current licence.

The speed of the sale means any prospective bidders who had previous plans drawn up could steal a march on their rivals.

LA Dodgers part-owner Boehly falls into that category owing to his bid in 2019, but Cubs owners’ the Ricketts’ prior candidacy is less well known.

Experience of running top sporting organisations will also find favour in the bid process, and that will possibly put the US trio of the Ricketts, Boehly and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson in the box seat.

The Ricketts family have also overseen a $1 billion renovation of much-loved Cubs stadium Wrigley Field, keeping the Chicago outfit in their traditional, neighbourhood home rather than relocating out of the city.

Sources close to the family suggested the Cubs owners are confident of being the only bidders with experience of running both a world-renowned sports franchise and also a state-of-the-art stadium rebuild.

The long-mooted rebuild of Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium will be central to the next owners’ big projects, and the Ricketts family are understood to be prepared for that challenge.

Updated: March 16, 2022, 4:53 PM
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