Chicago Cubs owners The Ricketts Family have confirmed their bid to buy Chelsea
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and his family will spearhead a consortium bid for the Stamford Bridge club, with major partnership funding understood to be in place.
New York merchant bank Raine Group has set a Friday deadline for bids, with Roman Abramovich’s 19-year tenure as Chelsea owner coming to a close.
A spokesman said: “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.
“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.”
The Ricketts family bought the storied Major League Baseball team the Cubs in 2009.
The Wrigley Field outfit then went on to win the World Series in 2016, for their first title since 1908.
The Cubs’ victory parade brought five million people together in Chicago, which was estimated as among the top 10 gatherings of people in global history.
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Chelsea owner Mr Abramovich put the Stamford Bridge club up for sale on March 2, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The 55-year-old Russian billionaire has owned Chelsea since 2003 and steered the Blues to 21 trophies in that 19-year stint.
The Government imposed sanctions on Mr Abramovich last week, claiming to have proven the Chelsea chief’s links to Russia’s president Vladimir Putin.
Mr Abramovich has always denied links to Putin’s regime, but the Downing Street sanctions have frozen all his UK assets barring Chelsea.
The Stamford Bridge club now runs under special Government licence, with the Treasury taking oversight of the potential sale.
Mr Abramovich cannot profit from Chelsea but had pledged to write off the club’s £1.5billion debt and divert all proceeds to a charitable foundation, before his UK sanctions came into place.
Chelsea suitor Nick Candy has revealed his motivation to stop Tottenham supporter Jonathan Goldstein taking over.
Labour MP Chris Bryant says Chelsea FC should be seized by the Government
All the competing bidders are putting the finishing touches to their submissions, with LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly partnering with Swiss magnate Hansjorg Wyss and Cain International CEO Goldstein.
Chelsea fan Candy has scotched talk of meeting with Boehly’s consortium over joining forces on a bid, with the 49-year-old insisting he does not want to see a Spurs supporter in charge at Stamford Bridge.
A spokesman for Mr Candy said: “This is a completely unsubstantiated rumour.
“There are no talks under way with Nick Candy and the Todd Boehly and Jonathan Goldstein consortium, not least because Mr Candy does not want a lifelong Spurs fan as part of the future ownership of Chelsea Football Club.”
The Saudi Media Group is also compiling an offer, with former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton another among the prospective bidders.