June 6, 2023

The future of Stamford Bridge is among the more important issues that any prospective Chelsea owner must tackle to win their bid

Even with Premier League football set to return this weekend and Chelsea preparing to take on Brentford, it’s impossible to ignore the Blues’ takeover. The process appears to have been narrowed down to four contenders fronted by Tedd Boehly, Martin Broughton, the Ricketts family and Stephen Pagliuca and a schedule for the process has been set.

A new owner is expected to be in place by the beginning of May, with the shortlisted groups set a deadline of April 11th to submit their final offers. The preferred bid would then be presented to the government a week later with the hope Chelsea’s operating licence will be amended to allow the sale to go through.

As revealed by football.london, the government is unlikely to impose any hard conditions apart from ensuring Roman Abramovich does not receive any money from a sale. However, Raine have informed all four groups that they must commit at least £1billion to invest in the playing squad and Stamford Bridge’s redevelopment.

Tedd Boehly: Reports emerged on Wednesday that the consortium have started talks over redeveloping Stamford Bridge providing they are the party to complete the takeover. Jonathan Goldstein, a property developer, is part of the consortium and talks are said to be underway with the former project director for the abandoned project to redevelop the ground, David Hickey.

Boehly is of course a part-owner of LA Dodgers and links have also been made to Janet Marie Smith, the architect who has previously worked on £200million improvements to Dodger Stadium, as well as Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox.

Martin Broughton: Broughton, like Seb Coe who is also part of the consortium, is said to be a long-time Chelsea supporter with a season ticket in the Shed End. Little in the way of specifics have been offered but the former Liverpool chairman has outlined hopes to improve team facilities and commercial opportunities. Redeveloping the stadium obviously enhances both.

He announced his hope of: “Investing in the club to keep it at the top of European football. An immediate commitment to invest in players, new team facilities, and new commercial opportunities. I am assembling a team that will ensure the future success and financial stability of a club I’ve supported for over 60 years. We will secure a prompt purchase and smooth transition, with funds readily available for the immediate takeover of the club and immediate investment in the team, facilities, and commercial opportunities.”

Ricketts family: The renovation of Stamford Bridge is said to have been a central point of their original proposal and the family already have experience of redeveloping a sports ground in Wrigley Field. That was part of their when buying the team and stadium in 2009 and took place over the following decade. Part of this included negotiations with rooftop owners, whose sitelines would be interfered with by redevelopments. When scaled down renovations could not be agreed to, the Ricketts family returned to their original plans even at risk of court issues. However, they then acquired a number of the rooftop locations. The group have already met with Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and the Pitch Owners.

Brian Wolff, head of Chelsea’s Chicago Supporters Club and Chelsea Fans’ Forum Overseas Representative, raised concerns in an open letter to the Blues board and Raine group. In that, he said: “Their ownership of the 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 as our forever home.”

Stephen Pagliuca: Little in the way of details of Pagliuca’s bid has been revealed since he appeared as one of the shortlist of preferred bidders. It’s uncertain if the Atalanta and Boston Celtics owner is part of a consortium, but the Telegraph reports he is prevented from making details public by non-disclosure agreements.

The group own the freehold of the stadium and the rights to the name of Chelsea FC. The relationship between the company and a new owner will be crucial to any redevelopment. They hope to meet with the prospective owners, and have only spoken out in relation to some of the reaction when the Ricketts’ family’s plans to meet them emerged.

The said: “In response to the many comments posted in recent days, we wholly support statements from @ChelseaSTrust particularly that we have no legal role or direct say on the decision as to who the Club will be sold to – which is a commercial matter for Chelsea FC. Please understand that it’s in our interests to have a conversation with all the bidders but that doesn’t mean we endorse any particular consortium. Any dialogue is purely to ensure they understand the positions of both CST and CPO.”

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