Chelsea takeover bid hits stumbling block after Tom Ricketts forced to declare 'absolute commitment'

Fans have voiced their concerns over alleged racist comments previously made by family patriarch, Joe Ricketts

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Tom Ricketts has been forced to declare his “absolute commitment” to diversity and inclusion in the Chicago Cubs owners’ bid to buy Chelsea Football Club.

A petition to stop the Ricketts family from buying Chelsea has reached over 20,000 signatures, with fans calling for the bid to be rejected due to alleged racist comments previously made by family patriarch, Joe Ricketts.

A statement alongside the petition said: “The Ricketts family have stated their intention to purchase Chelsea football club after Roman listed the club for sale.

“All Chelsea fans are against the family owning our club.”

But Tom Ricketts has now responded to the uprest, saying that his team has declared “absolute commitment" to diversity and inclusion, adding that they have sat down with supporters groups in recent weeks.

A fan holds a banner in protest against the Ricketts' bid
A fan holds a banner in protest against the Ricketts' bid
Chelsea fans protest outside Stamford Bridge on Saturday
Chelsea fans protest outside Stamford Bridge on Saturday

Mr Ricketts said in a statement: “Over the past fortnight, our bid team has met with several supporter groups to explain our vision for Chelsea Football Club”.

“In those meetings, and by letter to all groups, we have shared a set of specific commitments we will make to fans, if our bid is successful.

“We believe these are far-reaching and certainly include an absolute commitment on the part of the Ricketts Family and the bid team to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of the club.

“We look forward to more meetings – including with the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust – over the coming days and to making a public reiteration of our values and commitments.”

Mr Rickett’s comments come as fans protested the takeover bid outside Stamford Bridge ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League fixture against Brentford on Saturday.

Supporters holding blue flares also held signs which read “No to Ricketts, no to racism. Buck off."

While another fan held aloft a banner which read: “No to Ricketts, don’t touch my Chelsea.”

Current Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich remains hopeful of selling the club following the crippling sanctions placed on him by the UK Government over Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.