The owners of the Chicago Cubs have dropped their interest in buying Chelsea, leaving three bids remaining for the Premier League club’s forced sale by sanctioned Russian owner Roman Abramovich.
The bid was led by Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts but was met with opposition from Chelsea fans following Islamophobic comments from his father, Joe, which appeared in leaked emails three years ago.
The consortium, which also included US investors Ken Griffin and Dan Gilbert, did not directly address “problems” preventing them from going ahead with the bid by Thursday’s deadline for final bids.
“The Ricketts-Griffin-Gilbert group have decided, after careful consideration, not to submit a final offer for Chelsea FC,” the group said in a statement. “During the process of finalizing their proposal, it became increasingly clear that some issues could not be resolved given the unusual dynamics surrounding the sales process. We have great admiration for Chelsea and their fans, and we wish the new owners the best of luck.”
The other three known deals also involve investors from North American sports teams.
Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca has partnered with Larry Tanenbaum, who has stakes in Toronto with the NBA Raptors, NHL Maple Leafs and the city’s MLS team. Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Peter Guber also supports the group.
Another Dodgers co-owner, Todd Boehly, leads another consortium.
The third remaining known group is led by former Liverpool and British Airways chairman Martin Broughton, with investment planned by Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who own the Philadelphia 76ers and have stakes in Premier League club Crystal Palace .
A New York-based merchant bank, the Raine Group, oversaw Abramovich’s announced sale process last month following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The oligarch has been sanctioned by Britain and the European Union for his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin with frozen assets including Chelsea.
Abramovich has been disqualified from managing the reigning European champions by the Premier League and he cannot enjoy the proceeds of the sale, which the British government must sign under a license that allows the team to continue to function.
Chelsea’s Champions League title defense was halted by Real Madrid on Tuesday, but Thomas Tuchel’s side are on course to qualify for next season’s lucrative UEFA competition as they are third in the standings. Premier League. Chelsea remain in contention for the FA Cup with a semi-final match against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports