The consortium led by Chicago Cubs, owners of the Ricketts family, has pulled out of the running to buy Chelsea, leaving three bidders remaining.
Final bids for the club, which was put up for sale by owner, Roman Abramovich, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine before sanctions were imposed on the oligarch by the British government, were submitted last week.
The Ricketts family, who had partnered with US billionaires, Ken Griffin and Dan Gilbert, submitted a cash-only offer and had been included on the four-bid shortlist produced by US bank, Raine Group, who is overseeing the sale.
“The Ricketts-Griffin-Gilbert Group has decided, after careful consideration, not to submit a final bid for Chelsea F.C,” a statement read.
“In the process of finalising 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.”
The Ricketts family’s surprise withdrawal leaves groups led by LA Dodgers part-owner, Todd Boehly, former Liverpool chairman, Martin Broughton and Boston Celtics co-owner, Steve Pagliuca as the remaining Chelsea bidders.
The Ricketts family had initially face fan opposition to their bid after emails from 2009 resurfaced from the family patriarch, Joe, commenting about Muslims.
However, reports said the decision not to proceed with Chelsea is not a consequence of that, but over the terms of the final proposal.
Since Abramovich was sanctioned, the club has been operating under a special government licence. When eventually sold, Abramovich will not be allowed to profit but has already said he will write off £1.5 billion of debt owed to him by the club.