American investor Stephen Pagliuca says NBA chairman Larry Tanenbaum and former Chelsea captain John Terry have joined his bid to purchase the Premier League club.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Pagliuca said that Tanenbaum, who is owner of the Canadian company Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), had become ‘co-managing partner’ of the bid.
MLSE owns the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC.
“Larry is a world-class individual who is highly regarded in the global sports community, and his experience in sports governance, his long-term perspective, and civil construction expertise are tremendous assets for our group,” said Pagliuca.
Pagliuca also said that the ‘True Blues Consortium’, which includes fans and former players including Terry, were also behind his bid.
“The group welcomes the endorsement and support of the True Blues Consortium, an organization dedicated to Chelsea FC and focused on representing fan interests for the club,” said the statement.
Chelsea were put up for sale by owner Roman Abramovich following Russia’s invasion and before sanctions were imposed on the oligarch by the British government.
Tanenbaum said he and Pagliuca planned to improve on the club’s current Stamford Bridge stadium.
“I can reassure Chelsea supporters that both Steve and I are committed to supporting a championship-winning team, building a state-of-the art stadium at Stamford Bridge, investing in our academy and women’s teams, and making a real difference in the community. I am excited by the potential future for Chelsea Football Club,” said the Canadian.
The statement said that former Disney CEO Bob Iger, Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin and businesswoman Elaine Saverin were part of their group.
Raj Ganguly of B Capital and Peter Guber, who is co-owner of the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Los Angeles Football Club are also involved in the bid, according to the statement.
Pagliuca, who is a co-owner of the Boston Celtics, could face a complication from his involvement in Italian Serie A club Atalanta.
The American is co-chairman of Atalanta after he acquired a 55 per cent stake in the club’s controlling company in February.
UEFA’s rules state that two clubs participating in the same competition cannot be directly or indirectly controlled by the same entity or managed by the same person.
Sources close to the deal, however, told Reuters that Pagliuca has no plans to relinquish his stake in the Bergamo club.
A number of investment groups have emerged with bids to take over the West London club.
The Ricketts family, who own the Chicago Cubs baseball team, have been included on the shortlist produced by U.S. Bank Raine Group, who are overseeing the sale.
Former Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton and World Athletics President Sebastian Coe are heading another consortium.
Todd Boehly, a minority owner of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers and founder of Eldridge Industries, is heading a bid.