The first and most important purpose of the CST is to represent the interests of our members, and Chelsea supporters.
It is important to clarify that the decision on who the successful bidder is will be made by Chelsea FC, Raine Group and the UK Government. The CST has no legal role or direct say in this decision.
However, we must be prepared for all eventualities. It is essential that the new owners of the club has the confidence of the supporter base and demonstrate an understanding of the values that we stand for. That is why the strength of feeling towards the Ricketts family bid from Chelsea supporters cannot and must not be ignored.
The CST are grateful to the Ricketts family for meeting with us this week. We challenged them on all of the points supporters have raised concerns about.
However, our concerns about their ability to run an inclusive, successful club on behalf of our diverse supporter base around the world have not yet been allayed.
It is for the Ricketts family to demonstrate how they will address supporter concerns – especially with regard to inclusivity, given both past and recent statements by members of the family, and they have not yet done that. They must do so publicly and they must do so urgently. If they are unable to do this and gain the confidence of Chelsea supporters, the CST Board does not believe it would be in the best interests of our members and Chelsea supporters for their bid to succeed.
We will also survey our members in the coming week on this point.
Any new owner of Chelsea FC must demonstrate its commitment to protecting supporters and the club’s heritage as well as taking it forward for the next generation of fans. That must be done by issuing a golden share which would give supporter representatives the right to veto decisions that could impact on club heritage, such as the location of the stadium, name of the team, support for the women’s team or joining a league such as a European Super League. We are encouraged that several bidders have indicated a willingness to do this.
The CST will continue to ensure that supporters’ voices are heard by the new owners, whoever they may be, and we anticipate further dialogue with prospective owners as the process progresses.
On behalf of the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust Board