Chelsea bidders the Ricketts family say they ‘reject hate’

The family is one of a number of parties who have expressed an interest in taking over from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who put the European champions up for sale following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. — Reuters pic
The family is one of a number of parties who have expressed an interest in taking over from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who put the European champions up for sale following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. — Reuters pic

LONDON, March 23 — The Ricketts family has insisted it rejects all forms of hate after Chelsea fans and an ex-player voiced concerns over the bid by the Chicago Cubs owners to buy the Premier League club.

The family is one of a number of parties who have expressed an interest in taking over from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who put the European champions up for sale following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Family patriarch Joe Ricketts, who is not involved in the family bid for the London club, was accused of Islamophobia in 2019, after a string of emails were leaked.

The family has moved to distance itself from the accusations.

“Our family rejects any form of hate in the strongest possible terms,” the Ricketts family said in a statement. “Racism and Islamophobia have no place whatsoever in our society.

“We have developed deep and abiding partnerships with the Muslim community in Chicago, as well as with all communities of colour.

“Respect for diversity and inclusion are central to our family’s values. If we prevail in our bid for Chelsea, we commit to the club and to the fans that we will actively promote these values.”

Joe Ricketts described Muslims as “my enemy” in an email exchange three years ago.

Ricketts Senior later apologised for the comments, while his son Tom, the Chicago Cubs chairman who is leading the Chelsea bid, distanced himself from his father’s assertions.

Chelsea supporters have expressed concerns over the bid to club officials, while Thomas Tuchel’s squad features four Muslim stars in N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger, Hakim Ziyech and Malang Sarr.

Former Chelsea winger Paul Canoville, the Blues’ first black player, was outspoken on social media, tweeting: “A big fat anti-racism NO to the Ricketts bid!!” — AFP