Ricketts family withdraws Chelsea bid

SUBLETTE COUNTY – The group of billionaires – led by Tom Ricketts – withdrew its bid to purchase English soccer team Chelsea FC.

Tom Ricketts, son of Jackson Fork Ranch owner and part-time Bondurant resident Joe Ricketts, was included in the bid with fellow billionaires Ken Griffin and Dan Gilbert. The group cited “issues” without acknowledging them before the final submission deadline last week.

“The Ricketts-Griffin-Gilbert Group has decided, after careful consideration, not to submit a final bid for Chelsea FC,” a statement from the group read. “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. We have great admiration for Chelsea and its fans, and we wish the new owners well.”

A British bank is overseeing the sale of the club as previous owner Roman Abramovich was forced to sell the club amid sanctions imposed upon him for his relationships with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Abramovich was one of numerous Russian oligarchs who were sanctioned after Russian started its invasion in Ukraine.

Abramovich purchased the club for around $190 million in 2003 and the club is now valued at $3.2 billion, according to a Forbes estimate.

To cloud the potential sale further, fans of the London club opposed the Ricketts group’s attempts to purchase the club, at one point picketing outside of their home stadium of Stamford Bridge before a match. Fans pointed to Islamophobic comments Joe Ricketts made three years ago as a basis for the protests. The Ricketts group flew to London previously to meet with fans about its vision for the club.

Following fan protests, the group issued a statement clarifying that Joe Ricketts was not involved in the bid.

This leaves three different potential bids for the purchase of Chelsea. Each of them are led by an American.

Chelsea’s hopes of defending its UEFA Champions League title were dashed by Real Madrid last week but the club is still in contention for the English Football Association’s Cup. The club currently sits in third in the English Premier League standings, high enough to preserve a spot in next year’s UEFA Champions League competition.