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Chelsea bidders raise stakes as battle to take over at crisis club intensifies

Lord Sebastian Coe revealed he had joined Sir Martin Broughton’s consortium bid while Nick Candy has Gianluca Vialli on board.

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The battle to take over at Stamford Bridge is intensifying (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The battle to take over at Stamford Bridge is intensifying (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The battle to take over at Stamford Bridge is intensifying (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sir Martin Broughton, the Ricketts family and Nick Candy all strengthened their bids to buy Chelsea in another remarkable day in the battle to own the Blues.

Lord Sebastian Coe revealed he had joined Broughton’s consortium bid, Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts confirmed their candidacy and a major backer – and Candy brought Chelsea favourite Gianluca Vialli on board.

London 2012 Olympics powerhouse and World Athletics president Coe added major gravitas to Broughton’s bid to buy the Stamford Bridge club.

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Lord Sebastian Coe, left, in the Stamford Bridge stands with Chelsea’s Bruce Buck (John Walton/PA)

Lord Sebastian Coe, left, in the Stamford Bridge stands with Chelsea’s Bruce Buck (John Walton/PA)

Lord Sebastian Coe, left, in the Stamford Bridge stands with Chelsea’s Bruce Buck (John Walton/PA)

Cubs owners the Ricketts family confirmed they would submit their bid for Chelsea on Friday, bringing US hedge fund chief Ken Griffin on board in a show of strength.

And British property tycoon Candy tugged at Chelsea supporters’ heartstrings with the addition of Stamford Bridge favourite Vialli, making the ex-Italy striker’s company Tifosy capital and investment firm the lead advisors to the bid.

Coe would take a seat on Chelsea’s board should Broughton be successful in his candidacy to buy the club, the PA news agency understands.

“I am certain that Sir Martin is the right man to lead Chelsea Football Club into its next chapter,” said Coe.

“He has an exceptional track record in British business, as well as unrivalled experience in shepherding Liverpool out of a very difficult situation.

“He has the vision, acumen and financial backing to ensure our club’s future success, keeping Chelsea Football Club at the top of European football and challenging for trophies.

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Former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton, left, is keen to take control at Chelsea (Peter Byrne/PA)

Former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton, left, is keen to take control at Chelsea (Peter Byrne/PA)

Former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton, left, is keen to take control at Chelsea (Peter Byrne/PA)

“But most importantly, like me, he is a lifelong Chelsea supporter and Shed End season-ticket holder. I know that this bid is for the millions of Chelsea fans around the world. We love our club and will always put the fans first.”

Roman Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

The 55-year-old’s UK Government sanctions last week accelerated that sale process, with New York merchant bank Raine Group setting a Friday deadline for bids to be submitted.

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Broughton ran British American Tobacco before chairing British Airways.

The high-profile British business figure now chairs private investment firm Sports Investment Partners.

Broughton helped steer Liverpool to the Reds’ current period of prosperity when he took the chairmanship on a short-term basis in 2010.

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The Ricketts family will hope to bring their American sports knowhow to west London (Adam Davy/PA)

The Ricketts family will hope to bring their American sports knowhow to west London (Adam Davy/PA)

The Ricketts family will hope to bring their American sports knowhow to west London (Adam Davy/PA)

“I am absolutely delighted to welcome Lord Coe to our bid. His reputation speaks for itself, and he will bring phenomenal insight, leadership, and sporting knowledge to Chelsea Football Club,” said Broughton.

The Ricketts family’s experience of redeveloping Wrigley Field but retaining its neighbourhood charm, as well as running a major sports franchise, could hand the Cubs owners an edge in the increasing length of Chelsea suitors.

“The Ricketts Family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, can confirm they will be leading an investment group that will make a formal bid for Chelsea Football Club this Friday,” a spokesman for the Ricketts family said.

“As long-time operators of an iconic professional sports team, the Ricketts Family and their partners understand the importance of investing for success on the pitch, while respecting the traditions of the club, the fans and the community.

“We look forward to sharing further details of our plans in due course.”

British property magnate Candy continues to work hard to build extra substance to his own bid for Chelsea, and pulled off a coup by handing Vialli a central role.

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Could Gianluca Vialli return to Stamford Bridge as a stakeholder? (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Could Gianluca Vialli return to Stamford Bridge as a stakeholder? (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Could Gianluca Vialli return to Stamford Bridge as a stakeholder? (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“I am proud and feel very privileged to support Mr Candy’s bid to buy Chelsea Football Club,” said Vialli.

“I have met Nick Candy on a number of occasions over the last few weeks and I am fully behind his visions and commitment to make Chelsea the most globally recognised and supported club in the world, as well as maintaining the ongoing success on the pitch.

“We share the same view that if the bid is successful, we will try to be the best possible custodians of the club, knowing that it is imperative that supporter concerns are front and centre of any owner’s priorities.

“I find Mr Candy to be an ambitious but realistic and very successful entrepreneur and I have been impressed by his enthusiasm and desire to start a new era for the club that we are both so incredibly fond of.

“I am pleased that an English businessman is leading a consortium that will bring diverse expertise and experience to the table, with the goal to make Chelsea a better club for the sake of the fans.”

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