Chelsea fans protest against Ricketts family before shock defeat
Chelsea fans protested against the Ricketts family outside Stamford Bridge before Saturday's shock 4-1 home loss to Brentford and have elsewhere registered a vote of no confidence in the potential new owners of the Premier League giants.
Roman Abramovich put the west Londoners up for sale on March 2 just before his assets were frozen for alleged links to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a response to Russia's military operation.
If overseen by the UK government, a sale that Abramovich cannot benefit from in any way is still possible with the Ricketts family among the final four bidding consortiums after a shortlist was compiled by the Raine Group.
Raine set a deadline of April 11 for improved bids to be made, but until then Chelsea fans have shown their distaste for the Chicago Cubs-owning Ricketts family taking over the reins given the American clan's patriarch Joe Ricketts was revealed to have referred to Muslims as "my enemy" in a leaked 2019 e-mail.
Ahead of the match with Brentford on Saturday, fans gathered outside Stamford Bridge and held up homemade banners with messages such as: "No to Ricketts, no to racism, buck off" and "We don't want racists as owners".
Chelsea fans protest the Ricketts family’s bid to buy the club before their match against Brentford.Leaked emails previously showed family patriarch Joe Ricketts using anti-Muslim language between 2009 and 2013. pic.twitter.com/JnD6QeD3za— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 2, 2022
Meanwhile the Chelsea Supporters' Trust (CST) revealed that 77% of members don't support the Ricketts family's potential takeover while 72% said they have no confidence the Ricketts would run an inclusive club if their bid was successful.
"It is essential that the new owners of Chelsea FC have the confidence of the supporter base and demonstrate an understanding of the values that we stand for," CST insisted in a statement.
"At present, it is clear that our membership neither supports nor has confidence in the Ricketts family's bid for the club," the CST added, though they did vow to survey members again if the Ricketts family can "publicly set out clear and detailed plans on how they will address support concerns".
Responding to the development, the Ricketts family revealed how their bid team has met with several supporter groups to explain their vision.
"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," the statement went on.
"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," the family concluded.
After losing to 14th-placed Brentford on Saturday afternoon, Chelsea will now go on the road to the Spanish capital and continue their Champions League title defense against 13-times winners Real Madrid in a quarter-final first leg tie at the Bernabeu.