The Ricketts Family, one of the bidders for Chelsea FC, announced on Friday that they will not submit a final bid to purchase the English Premier League club.
“The Ricketts-Griffin-Gilbert Group has decided, after careful consideration, not to submit a final bid for Chelsea F.C. In the process of finalizing their proposal, it became increasingly clear that certain issues could not be addressed given the unusual dynamics around the sales process,” the owners of Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs said in a statement to CNN.
“We have great admiration for Chelsea and its fans, and we wish the new owners well.”
The Ricketts family had partnered with US billionaires Dan Gilbert, the owner of Basketball’s Cleveland Cavaliers, and Dan Griffin, a hedge fund founder, in their pursuit of the team.
After announcing their bid to purchase the club, the Ricketts family came under fire due to leaked emails revealed in 2019 that Joe Ricketts – the family patriarch, who was not involved in the potential purchase of Chelsea – had made anti-Muslim comments, in a series of emails during the 2012 US election cycle. Among other things, Joe Ricketts called Muslims “our enemy.”
He later apologized and admitted he has said things that don’t reflect his value system.
Shortly after, the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust released a statement saying that 77% of its members did not support the Ricketts-led consortium’s bid for the club.
A representative of the Ricketts group told CNN the decision to withdraw was not due to the backlash, clarifying that the family had productive meetings with supporter groups. In the end, the representative said, the two sides just couldn’t reach an agreement.
In March, Chelsea owner and Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich announced he planned to sell the club in the best interests of “the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners.”
This came after he declared he gave “stewardship” of Chelsea to trustees of the club’s charitable foundation.
Afterward, the European Union placed Abramovich on its list of sanctioned individuals, while the UK government sanctioned him as part of its efforts to “isolate” Russian President Vladimir Putin following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich has always denied being linked to Putin and rejected claims that any of his activities merited government sanctions.