Serena Williams joins bid to buy Chelsea from Abramovich – report
Tennis star Serena Williams and F1 ace Lewis Hamilton - an Arsenal supporter - have pledged millions to join a consortium hoping to secure the purchase of Premier League giants Chelsea from Roman Abramovich, according to reports.
Sky News says the 23-time Grand Slam winner and seven-time Formula 1 world champion will pump £10 million ($13 million) into the consortium fronted by British businessman Martin Broughton - with the former Liverpool chairman understood to have been in discussions with the duo for several weeks.
Chelsea is expected to be sold in the coming weeks for a sum in the region of £2.5 billion ($3.25 billion).
It has also been reported that Hamilton's potential partnership with the club would see him play a formal role in the club's ongoing desire to promote diversity and equality, should Broughton's bid be successful.
Williams, meanwhile, is the part-owner of the LA-based women's football team Angel FC who are due to play their first game this year.
Sky reports that Williams and Hamilton were sought by Broughton for their experience in cultivating global sporting brands. The bid also features another British sports star in Sebastien Coe.
The deal would potential mirror that of Liverpool, where basketball star LeBron James has been an investor for more than a decade.
Chelsea were put up for sale by Abramovich in March in the wake of Russia's military operation in Ukraine. Abramovich has since been sanctioned by the UK government for supposed ties to the Kremlin, which he denies.
Raine Group, who have been tasked with overseeing the sale of the club, have narrowed the list of bidders to three and are expected to announce their preferred candidate to the UK government in the coming days.
The UK government are then expected to sign off on a deal, at which point the sanctions which have impacted the club are expected to be lifted.
The other potential buyers are Todd Boehly, who is part-owner of the LA Dodgers, and Steve Pagliuca, who counts the Boston Celtics and Serie A team Atalanta among his assets.
The consortium headed by the American-based Ricketts family withdrew from selection last week after being unable to agree to final terms of the bid, and after they had come under fire from fans due to the family's patriarch having expressed Islamophobic sentiment in emails.