The deadline for final bids for the purchase of Chelsea FC is today, and Chelsea supporters will soon have a better idea of the identity of the next custodian of our club. Over the last few weeks, the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, along with other supporter groups and the Chelsea Pitch Owners have engaged extensively with 3 of the prospective owners; the bids led by Todd Boehly, Martin Broughton and the Ricketts family.
While we have highlighted the significant concerns of our membership and supporters more generally in respect of one of these bids, we are grateful for the outreach and continued commitment to supporter dialogue of all 3 prospective owners.
The successful bidder must continue this dialogue.
We expect our new owners to build an inclusive and successful club with supporters at the forefront. Throughout our discussions with these 3 bids, we have consistently set out a number of key expectations of new owners:
- The outstanding balance of the loan from Chelsea FC to the Chelsea Pitch Owners is forgiven, so that Stamford Bridge is secured by and for Chelsea Supporters;
- Supporters are given a legally-binding say on matters of club heritage – including the stadium, club name and crest, and participation in new sporting competitions,through the issuing of a golden share;
- A continued commitment to Chelsea FC Women;
- The creation of a Shadow Board of supporters to advise the Chelsea FC Board;
- A commitment to continuing the legacy of the Chelsea Foundation.
Meeting these expectations will go some way to demonstrating a commitment to ensuring supporter voices are heard, and the heritage of our club are protected.
We believe these expectations are reasonable and we are optimistic that the successful bidder will implement them.
We look forward to further conversations once a preferred bidder has been announced. We are also encouraged by reports that none of the bids will seek to leverage debt onto the club as part of the sale, and the fact that all bids have spoken to Paul Canoville to understand his unique insight into the club.
The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, Chelsea Pitch Owners, Chelsea Pride, the Chelsea Women’s Supporters Group, the Chelsea Supporters Club & Chelsea Supporters Group are disappointed that the late announcement of the bid from the Pagliuca consortium has meant it has been difficult to engage meaningfully with them. Whilst initial contact has now been made with some groups, this bid has not yet spoken at length with of the aforementioned supporter groups. We further note that the only Chelsea supporters that appear to have meaningful discussions with this bid thus far are those offering to take a financial stake in the club as part of the bid.
Based on the lack of meaningful discourse thus far, the Chelsea Supporters’Trust, along with the Chelsea Pitch Owners, Chelsea Pride, Chelsea Women’s Supporters Group, Chelsea Supporters Group & Chelsea Supporters Club will need further reassurance on the future of relations between the club and supporters should this bid succeed.