Two groups confirm they are on shortlist with questions over Ricketts family


The consortiums led by US billionaire Todd Boehly and Sir Martin Broughton were last night informed that they are on the shortlist to become the next owners of Chelsea following an elongated process in which several rejected parties confirmed their status first and doubt remained over other interested groups.

Boehly, a part-owner of the LA Dodgers, and partners Swiss philanthropist Hansjorg Wyss and Londoner Jonathan Goldstein have been considered the frontrunners since the start and were notified that they would proceed to the next stage of evaluation.

The Broughton group, meanwhile, is complicated because they are linked with Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who already own stakes in Crystal Palace. They will need to sell their portion of the South London club for a move to be granted by the authorities.

It is unclear if the Ricketts family, who have been met with vociferous resistance by supporters upset by historical racist comments by the patriarch, remain in the picture. Reports last night indicated that they are not being considered but a spokesman for the family is yet to comment.

Raine Group, the New York-based merchant bank overseeing the auction, had previously said they would make the list of preferred bidders public. Several groups were told that they were no longer under consideration yesterday afternoon, including Tory donor and luxury property developer Nick Candy, who claims to have been a Chelsea fan since four years old, and the Saudi Media group, who were first to go public with their rejection.

There is no definitive timeline placed on the process but Chelsea, who learnt on Wednesday night that sanctioned owner Roman Abramovich could put £30million into the club to solve cashflow issues, are in need of a swift transaction.

The Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has previously said it could take ten days for a prospective buyer to go through the league's buying process, including the owners' and directors' test. There had been a belief last week that a takeover could happen in time for the club's next home again, against Brentford on April 2, but that is now deemed impossible.

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