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Chelsea bidders deny accusations of racism & Islamophobia

Joe Ricketts, whose family run Major League Baseball team the Chicago Cubs and are attempting to buy Chelsea, called Muslims ‘our enemy’ in an email in 2019

The Ricketts family who are part of a bid to buy Premier League heavyweights Chelsea following the sanctioning of Roman Abramovich have denied accusations of racism and Islamophobia.

The owners of Major League Baseball team the Chicago Cubs flew to London for talks with influential Chelsea fan groups on Tuesday.

They have now been forced to distance themselves from comments which first emerged in 2019 and were written by Joe Ricketts, the family patriach.

“Muslims are naturally my (our) enemy due to their deep antagonism and bias against non-Muslims,” Ricketts wrote in a widely-reported email. The remarks have caused alarm among some supporters of the Champions League holders, whose squad includes Muslim players Hakim Ziyech, Antonio Rudiger, N’Golo Kante and Malang Sarr.

Joe Ricketts apologized for his views at the time and has insisted he is not bigoted.

Tom Ricketts, the figurehead of the bid for Chelsea, said his father was not involved with the Cubs.

The family has sought to make amends with Chicago’s Muslim community, and the group reiterated its stance in a statement.

“Our family rejects any form of hate in the strongest possible terms,” it said. “Racism and Islamophobia have no place whatsoever in our society.

“We have developed deep and abiding partnerships with the Muslim community in Chicago, as well as with all communities of colour.

“Respect for diversity and inclusion are central to our family’s values. If we prevail in our bid for Chelsea, we commit to the club and to the fans that we will actively promote these values.”

The family believe they are in a strong position to be named as the prefered buyers in a tussle for control thought to involve around 20 bidders.

Their cause will not be helped by a #notoRicketts hashtag circulating on social media following the fresh scrutiny afforded to the offensive emails.

Paul Canoville, who became the first black player to represent Chelsea when he made his debut in 1981, expressed his fervent opposition to the bid.

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“So I’ve seen and heard enough,” said the popular ex-winger, offering “a big fat anti-racism no” to the bid.

The title winner with the club also told Greg Hands, the Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham, to “stop even mentioning” the bid after the politican revealed that the Ricketts had arrived for talks.

A statement from the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust said: “While we cannot comment on commercially sensitive matters, [we] would like to reassure our members and supporters that in all dialogue with bidders, we have reaffirmed and will continue to reaffirm that any new owner must share the inclusive views of Chelsea FC and our diverse supporter base.”

The trust also called on the government, which is overseeing the sale of the club because Abramovich has been barred from selling it under the terms of his sanctioning earlier this month, to dismiss any buyers who failed to give fans a “golden share”.

Businessman Abramovich was sanctioned on March 10 because of his alleged close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has always denied he has done anything to warrant being punished.

A report on Tuesday suggested that the club could attract the highest price ever paid for a sports club or franchise in a deal potentially worth more than $4 billion.

https://ift.tt/C8BbwTq 23, 2022 at 04:30PM
from RT – Daily news

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