Stephen Pagliuca breaks silence on Chelsea takeover bid and hints he will sell stake in Atalanta to buy club
12th April 2022

STEPHEN PAGLIUCA has broken his silence on his Chelsea takeover bid and hinted he will sell stakes in Atalanta.

The co-owner of the Boston Celtics basketball team is in the running to succeed sanctioned Blues boss Roman Abramovich.

But Pagliuca and a group of co-investors only recently bought a controlling stake in Serie A side Atalanta.

The shareholding could cause complications if Atalanta and Chelsea ever appear in the same European club competition amid Uefa rules.

If two clubs majority-owned by the same entity face each other in competitions, one would have to agree to forfeit the tie.

In his statement to Sky News, Pagliuca said his bid for Chelsea would be "substantial and credible – one that we expect will meet the respective requirements and regulations of the Premier League, UK Government and UEFA – and we pledge to honor our commitment to credibility and good guardianship of Chelsea Football Club from day one".

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Pagliuca BREAKS silence and hints at selling Atalanta stake to buy Chelsea

It was previously claimed Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of the NBA, is among the investors backing Pagliuca's offer.

Remaining contenders to buy Chelsea must submit final offers for the Stamford Bridge club on April 14.

According to the PA news agency, New York merchant bank the Raine Group will then hope to present a preferred bidder to Downing Street in the week of April 18.

The Government must approve the eventual buyer, with the issuing of a new Treasury licence for the sale the final hurdle for Chelsea's would-be new owners.

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And sources close to the Government have revealed Downing Street's satisfaction in principle with all remaining parties in the battle to buy the club from Abramovich.

Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts family and Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly, in partnership with US magnate Mark Walter and British businessman Jonathan Goldstein, have both pushed hard in their bids.

Boehly's consortium took a tour of Chelsea's training ground as they looked to complete an historic takeover.

The Ricketts family's bid has drawn criticism among Chelsea supporters in West London.

A small protest was also staged at Stamford Bridge before Chelsea'sshock 4-1 defeat at the hands of Brentford.

Blues supporters have objected to controversies around the family including patriarch Joe Ricketts' Islamophobic statements in leaked emails from 2019.

Siblings Tom and Laura Ricketts are thought to be considered suitable bid leaders however, owing to their Cubs stewardship and efforts towards community relations and diversity and inclusion in Chicago.

The bid also boasts major financial backing from two of America's richest men in Ken Griffin and Dan Gilbert.

Sir Martin Broughton and Lord Sebastien Coe have teamed up on another bid, while Boston Celtics' Pagliuca remains in the running.

Broughton and Coe's consortium's bid for Chelsea would find favour in Government, given the duo's clear establishment links and track record in sporting administration.

Boston Celtics chief Pagliuca's track record in the NBA is not thought to generate any concerns in Downing Street either.

Both the Broughton and Pagliuca consortium offers would likely require divesting of other football club shares, but Government chiefs are understood to expect Raine Group to have already accounted for such detail in whittling down their shortlist.

Josh Harris and David Blitzer would have to offload their shareholding in Crystal Palace if they are named in the Broughton bid as expected, while Pagliuca would need to reduce his 55 per cent share in Italian club Atalanta.

The Boehly-Goldstein bid appears to have precious few sticking points from a Government perspective.

The heads of the four consortiums met with Chelsea's board executives last week, aiming to gather as much information as possible amid the fine-tuning of their bids.

Billionaire Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale in March amid Russia's continued invasion of Ukraine.

The 55-year-old was then sanctioned by the UK Government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his links to Russian pal, president Vladimir Putin.

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Chelsea have been granted a special Government licence to continue operating, though under strict terms.

Abramovich cannot profit from Chelsea's sale, but had already vowed to write off the club's £1.5billion debt.

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