When a football club is put up on the market, especially one as big as Chelsea, the sheer volume of people involved in the bidding process can seem insane. The number of bidders and people who would be keen to own a football club soon becomes very apparent. Indeed, for that reason, it should come as no surprise that the Ricketts Family have been involved in a bid for Chelsea. The family owns the Chicago Cubbs, and will collaborate alongside the likes of Ken Griffin to get the deal done.
However, there has been notable backlash to the potential ownership of the club. With so much controversy around the Roman Abramovich era, most fans simply want the next owner to run the club quietly.
The threat of further sanctions and headaches down the line, naturally, has put some fans off some of the ownership options. the Ricketts family has seen major backlash after a series of emails sent by Joe Ricketts emerged in the media.
What was said about the Ricketts family?
The Chicago Chelsea Supporters’ Club released a statement slating the potential ownership group, saying via Brian Wolff: “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 of universal disdain.
“The Ricketts’ political donations, fundraising and support for candidates who do not share the inclusive views of Chelsea Football Club and its supporters are wholly inconsistent with 19 years of fantastic work done by the club and the Chelsea Foundation, most notably as a leader in committing to a living wage and efforts to protect and promote equality for BAME and LGBTQ+ communities.“
Clearly not holding back, the statement went further by adding: “Their ownership of 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 at our forever home.
“On behalf of countless supporters worldwide, I urge [Raine Group and the UK government] 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 we hold dear.”
How did the Ricketts family respond?
In response, though, the Ricketts family put a statement of their own, saying: “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 all 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.”
As it stands, then, this sounds like a pretty tense standoff that shows no signs of slowing down. With so much uncertainty about who will own Chelsea, the backlash over this bid is sure to raise some concerns. For those who were so keen to put their ownership of Chelsea together, this could come as a major blow to their ability to win over the fans once and for all.