- Don Ruan
The Ricketts family, who own the Chicago Cups of Major League Baseball, have confirmed they will head a group of investors who will bid for Chelsea on Friday.
The Ricketts family has held a majority stake in Chicago Cups since 2009.
The BBC has learned that US businessman Ken Griffin is one of the investors in the auction.
An attempt by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich to sell the club was halted by sanctions imposed by the British government.
The move follows Abramovich’s strong ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A statement from the Ricketts family on Wednesday said they would provide more details “in a timely manner”.
“The Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, can confirm on Friday that they will lead an investment group that will make a formal effort for Chelsea,” the statement said.
“The Ricketts family and partners – as long-term managers of a professional and creative sports team – understand the importance of investment in achieving success on the pitch, while respecting the traditions of the club, fans and the community.”
An insider described the offer as “very serious”, especially as the family inquired about buying the club in 2018.
More than 20 trusted parties are interested in buying the club that plays in the English Premier League.
Who is the Ricketts family?
The Ricketts family acquired the Chicago Cubs in 2009 and renewed the Rigley Field as part of a drive to build a championship-winning team.
The Chicago Cups won the Baseball World Series title in 2016, the first time in 108 years that the long wait for a championship in sporting history came to an end.
An estimated five million people attended the Chicago Cubs Victory Celebrations in Chicago.
Thomas Ricketts chairs the club’s board of directors, and his brothers are also members of the board.
The family owns a 25 percent stake in CSN Chicago, an American television network.
The US investment firm, which is in the process of selling the club, expects the sale to take place by the end of March after positive negotiations with the UK government.
British businessman Nick Candy said earlier this month that he was exploring “several options for a potential auction”.
The British government froze Abramovich’s assets in Britain last week, including Chelsea, and he was fired as director of the club.
Chelsea are allowed to continue operating after obtaining a special license from the British government. The special license guarantees that Chelsea staff will be paid, and current season ticket holders will be allowed to attend the tournament, but a new license will have to be issued for the club to be sold.
The Russian businessman has owned Chelsea since 2003, when the club won 21 titles.
UEFA clarifies future Chelsea matches
Meanwhile, UEFA is seeking clarification from Chelsea on their future matches in the Champions League.
The European Union also imposed sanctions on Abramovich on Tuesday.
Chelsea won the first leg against Lille by two goals at Stamford Bridge, and the return match is set to take place in France on Wednesday.
“UEFA is fully committed to enforcing relevant UEFA and international sanctions at all times,” UEFA said.
“The current case is being assessed in the context of a license issued in the UK, which would allow Chelsea FC to pursue minimal football activity, while assuring Mr Abramovich of no financial gain.”
Chelsea are currently allowed to play in domestic competitions under a special license issued by the UK government, and season ticket holders are allowed to attend.
Chelsea are currently holding the Champions League, led by German coach Thomas Duchess, who beat Manchester City 1-0 in the final last year.
“We will work closely with UEFA and its member states, and we have full clarity and will be in touch with all relevant and relevant activities in line with the latest developments,” UEFA added.
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