Todd Boehly on course to become new Chelsea owner as his consortium is set to be preferred bidder

American tycoon Todd Boehly is on course to become new Chelsea owner following a dramatic day that saw Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe make a shock last-gasp attempt to hijack the bidding process.

Boehly’s group has won the race to be named as the preferred bidder for the Stamford Bridge club after Raine – the New York-based bank facilitating the sale – and Chelsea gave them the green light to close a deal understood to be worth £3.5billion.

The news comes after Sportsmail revealed on Friday that Boehly’s consortium – that also includes Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss – was leading the race heading into the process’ closing stages.

All that is left now is for the American-Swiss consortium to be officially confirmed as preferred bidders – but that is said to be a formality.

On Friday, fellow US businessman Steve Pagliuca had been informed that his group were out of the race, while sources close to the final remaining consortium led by British tycoon Sir Martin Broughton also indicated that they were unsuccessful and that Boehly’s bid had been given the nod.

Sources close to the process have indicated to Sportsmail that the Boehly group will now have a ‘period of time’ – understood to be between five and seven days – to ratify an exclusivity agreement to indicate their full intentions to press ahead with a takeover.

If that period of time elapses without an agreement, then Ratcliffe’s eleventh-hour attempts to gazump the three remaining bidders could yet come into play.

Ratcliffe’s offer to takeover from Roman Abramovich has infuriated the three shortlisted parties, who have been involved in the bidding process since its inception.

They believe Ratcliffe has disregarded the rules set out by Raine during the start of the process, all of which they have abided by.

Indeed, there was some confusion on Friday night over whether Ratcliffe’s offer could even be legally considered by Raine under the specific terms of the process, which were agreed by all shortlisted parties.

The owner of Ineos, the petrochemicals company, revealed on Friday that he had held discussions with the Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck on Thursday before making the offer on Friday.

Ratcliffe said his offer would include an investment of £1.75bn over 10 years to develop Stamford Bridge and other club infrastructure as well as sustaining the team at a high level.

This is in addition to the £2.5bn valuation of the club the prospective new owners have to meet – taking the total offer to £4.25bn.

It’s key to stress that the three other bidders all tabled offers in the region of £2.5bn – with varying degrees of investment.

A statement read: ‘This is a British bid, for a British club. We believe that a club is bigger than its owners who are temporary custodians of a great tradition. With responsibility to the fans and the community.

‘We will invest in Stamford Bridge to make it a world-class stadium, befitting of Chelsea FC. This will be organic and on-going so that we will not move away from the home of Chelsea and risk losing the support of loyal fans.

‘We will continue to invest in the team to ensure we have a first class squad of the world’s greatest players, coaches and support staff, in the men’s and women’s games.

‘And we hope to continue to invest in the academy to provide opportunity for talented youngsters to develop into first class players.’

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  • 2 месяца назад 29.04.2022Sport
    Matt Le Tissier reveals more controversial views on Covid and Ukraine war

    Matt Le Tissier has doubled down on his controversial beliefs about the Covid pandemic with the Southampton legend claiming ‘PCR tests were the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind.’

    The former midfielder, 53, has also claimed that dying Covid patients in Italy ‘were actors’ and that government interference in people’s lives during lockdown was an ‘injustice’.

    Le Tissier, whose Twitter posts promoting conspiracy theories about the pandemic and the Ukraine war led to him quitting an ambassador role at Southampton, also takes aim at Gary Lineker for ‘going out of his way to dig me out.’

    It came after Le Tissier lost his job on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday in August 2020 as the popular show was overhauled.

    In an interview with The Times, Le Tissier said: ‘A couple of years ago I felt like something wasn’t right. People were interfering with my life who shouldn’t have been – mainly the Government and scientists.

    ‘I felt a real sense of injustice and when I feel a sense of injustice I can’t keep my mouth shut. I have to speak up.’

    On the news images of intensive care patients struggling to breathe in Bergamo not long before Covid hit the United Kingdom, he said: ‘Some of those were actors, by the way.’

    Le Tissier also claimed that ‘PCR tests were the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind’ but denied that he was anti-vax.

    Earlier this month, Le Tissier appeared to suggest that the media have lied about the unfolding horrors in Ukraine.

    He retweeted a post from an account named Unity News Net, which claimed the atrocities in Ukraine had been falsified by the media after ‘weapons of mass destruction’, ‘Covid’ and ‘the Hunter Biden laptop’.

    Le Tissier captioned his tweet ‘This’, with a finger-pointing emoji down to the Unity News Net post.

    His followers were instead dismayed that he was appearing to question the legitimacy of the horrifying reports of Vladimir Putin’s forces slaughtering civilians and dumping their bodies into mass graves.

    Grisly images of what are claimed to be civilian massacres allegedly carried out by Russian forces in Bucha before they withdrew stirred a global outcry.

    US president Joe Biden lambasted Putin as a ‘war criminal’ and described the killing of civilians in Bucha as a ‘war crime’.

    In the Times interview, Le Tissier says that some of the images of devastation in Ukrainian towns and cities during the conflict ‘have been falsified.’

    Back in September, he tweeted: ‘Why didn’t we ever try this hard to ‘defeat’ flu? It has a similar fatality rate to ‘Covid’ and actually affects younger people more? Answers on a postcard.’

    Match of the Day host Lineker replied: ‘Yeah Matt, why didn’t someone come up with a flu vaccine?’

    Now Le Tissier has hit back at the England forward, saying: ‘I find it funny that he goes out of his way to criticise me for having an opinion that’s different to his.

    ‘I have followed Gary on social media for many years and a lot of the stuff I completely disagree with but I have never attacked him for it. But the other way round…

    ‘He is meant to be the nice bloke, the woke Gary Lineker, nice and inclusive but he is the one going out of his way trying to dig me out.’

  • 2 месяца назад 26.04.2022Sport
    Steve Clarke urged to convince Matt Targett to switch allegiance BACK to Scotland

    Former Rangers boss Graeme Murty believes Steve Clarke will have pulled off a major coup if he coaxes defender Matt Targett to switch allegiance back to Scotland.

    Aston Villa’s Targett, currently on loan at Newcastle, is being monitored ahead of the crucial series of internationals in June as the Scotland manager seeks cover at full-back for the injured Kieran Tierney and Nathan Patterson.

    The 26-year-old is a ready-made Premier League talent in top form as he continues to help Eddie Howe’s Magpies ease away from relegation trouble.

    Ex-Ibrox manager Murty is a huge admirer after coaching Targett at Southampton – and says the defender would be a superb addition to Scotland’s already outstanding cast of left-backs.

    Targett made two Scotland Under-19s appearances nine years ago before featuring for England up to Under-21s level and has been in the frame for a senior call-up from Gareth Southgate for over a year.

    Now Murty reckons Targett, who qualifies for Scotland through his grandmother, has his best years ahead of him in a dark blue jersey.

    ‘If Scotland managed to get him then, wow! That would be an incredible group of left-backs,’ he said.

    ‘Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Aaron Hickey and him. That would be a very strong cohort of talent for the national team to have in a position.

    ‘I don’t think you can have too many good players. Solid Premier League defenders give Scotland a great foundation for the next few years. The more the merrier.

    ‘Matt has taken all the steps that you hoped for. You look at him now playing Premier League and I personally don’t think he looks the finished article yet.

    ‘There’s actually more to come from him, so it would be exciting if that improvement is in Scotland colours.’

    Targett has more in common with Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell, says Murty, than the left back riches currently available to Clarke.

    ‘I think anyone who can play in the Premier League has a level of technicality that’s very high,’ he said. ‘Matt’s main attributes are his receiving and releasing the ball, his composure in possession. What a wonderful left foot he’s got.

    ‘He’s more like a Chilwell from England. Robertson and Tierney are more renowned for their athleticism and progressing the game.

    ‘Matt was just coming through the junior ranks when I first coached at Southampton. When you saw him play, his quality was outstanding.

    ‘As a young lad, he had a good frame, was quick, athletic and with excellent final-third quality. So, the modern full-back. You just hope he fulfils his athletic potential so he can manage the load of being a Premier League athlete.’

    Murty also hopes Targett isn’t put off by the quality of international player already in his position with Scotland.

    Tierney and Patterson are ruled out for the post-season series of fixtures, which starts against Ukraine on June 1.

    Murty, capped four times by Scotland, said: ‘I would put the question to him, see what he says. I don’t think anyone should try and second guess what a player is going to say.

    ‘I’d say: “We want you, you’ve got the possibility, what do you want to do?” I don’t think Scotland would lose anything by asking.’

    Targett made his Southampton debut as a teenager in season 2014-15. He enjoyed a successful loan season with Fulham when they were promoted via the Championship play-offs in 2018 then Villa paid £12m for him in the summer of 2019 and he was voted their Players’ Player of the Year last term.

    Lucas Digne was preferred by Steven Gerrard in mid-season, but Targett has played every minute for Newcastle – other than against his parent club – since switching on loan in January. There is understood to be an option for a £15m permanent deal.

    ‘Individual player circumstances change from moment to moment,’ said Murty. ‘If playing for Eddie Howe will serve his career well, then he’s made the right choice.

    ‘Matt has been excellent and part of a successful group who are playing well and full of confidence.’

    Meanwhile, Targett’s Newcastle team-mate Ryan Fraser is a major doubt for Scotland’s clash with Ukraine after the winger picked up a hamstring injury against Wolves earlier this month.

  • 2 месяца назад 26.04.2022Sport
    Emma Raducanu splits from coach Torben Beltz after five months working together

    Emma Raducanu has sprung another coaching surprise by parting company with Torben Beltz.

    The German, who had been in position for five months, becomes the third coach to have lost his job in a year when Raducanu has gone from A level student to global fame.

    While there had been rumours in the game that he was on his way out the timing is again surprising.

    Last week Raducanu reached the quarter finals of the Stuttgart WTA event in which she put up an excellent showing against dominant world No 1 Iga Swiatek.

    So far her first attempts at clay on the tour have been better than knowledgeable observers might have expected.

    Beltz’s demise follow a pattern. Nigel Sears was disposed of after her fourth round showing and, most surprising of all, Andrew Richardson was jettisoned after he helped her win the US Open.

    However Raducanu and her father Ian regard the business of coaching in a less orthodox way than most in the game, trying to take knowledge from a wide range of sources rather than focusing on being mentored by one person.

    It is likely to be a facet of her career for the foreseeable future – and has already been the case – that she regularly mixes and matches coaching options.

    ‘I want to thank Torben for his dedication,’ Raducanu said.

    ‘He has a huge heart and I have enjoyed our strong chemistry during the time together.

    ‘I feel the best direction for my development is to transition to a new training model with the LTA supporting in the interim.’

    Raducanu navigated her way through Wimbledon last summer with the help of Sears, whose daughter Kim is married to Andy Murray, as her temporary coach.

    She made it to the fourth round at SW19 but elected to switch coaches heading into the US Open, joining forces with Richardson, one of her youth coaches.

    The pair masterminded a fairytale in New York as Raducanu won her maiden Grand Slam from the qualifying rounds without dropping a set across 10 matches.

    Despite that shock success in New York, Raducanu made the decision to split from Richardson as she wanted a coach with pedigree on the WTA Tour.

    Following her split from Richardson, Raducanu held a number of coaching trials at her home base of Bromley Tennis Centre before settling on Beltz.

    During their five-month run together Raducanu, the world No 11, suffered a first round exit at the Sydney Tennis Classic in January, lost in the second round of the Australian Open to Danka Kovinic, lost in round one in Guadalajara in late February, reached the last-32 at Indian Wells, last-16 at the Miami Open and the quarter-finals in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No 1 Swiatek.

    Iain Bates, the LTA’s head of women’s coaching, will work with Raducanu in Madrid this week.

  • 2 месяца назад 26.04.2022Sport
    Gary Lineker opens up on heartache of his son George’s leukaemia battle at eight weeks old

    England legend and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker has lifted the lid on the heartbreaking moment he was told his son George had hours to live after being diagnosed with leukaemia at just eight weeks old.

    Lineker, 61, is one of the most famous names in English footballing history, but he has rarely spoken out about his son George’s seven-month stay in hospital as a baby.

    Now 30, George was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia just two months after his birth, with father Gary told on a number of occasions that his son wouldn’t make it through the night.

    Speaking exclusively to The Athletic’s new ‘The Moment’ podcast with Kelly Cates and Geoff Thomas, Lineker explains his feelings on the first night at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London back in 1991.

    ‘I’ll never forget that first night,’ he begins. ‘I was with Michelle [Cockayne, George’s mother] and they did all these tests and stuff. At the end of the night they gave us some sort of evaluation of prospects and they said it’s not good. They came to us with a somewhere between 10%- 20% survival rate with this thing at this age.

    ‘It was such a difficult time because we were being told that it would be incredibly difficult for him to make it through the night. They said they’ve got to start chemotherapy immediately because the leukaemia is in such a state.

    ‘So the first thing they told us was “we’ve got to try and get him over the next two or three days and then we’ll evaluate. So it was pretty grim. Pretty grim.”‘

    Lineker was playing for Tottenham at the time, and was one of the most famous footballers in the world having left Barcelona in 1989.

    He was also a mainstay in the England team, but football was far from the front of his mind as he cared for his first-born son at the start of the 1990s.

    ‘I wanted it to me that had it [Leukaemia],’ he continues. ‘I didn’t want it to be my little kid. But whilst there was hope that he’d get better, I was alright.

    ‘I used to have this recurring dream, and I’d had it for quite some time even after he finished treatment, of carrying a tiny little white coffin. It’s horrible.

    ‘It woke me up so many times, but actually living through it even when you’re in hospital, there were good moments as well and bad moments. There were ups and downs.’

    That said, Gary explains that football was a solace for him at the time, with training and matches the only time he was able to stop thinking about the hospital.

    ‘Football was the only time I could almost get it out of my mind,’ he explains. ‘I had three weeks without training and then I said ‘”Right, Terry [Venables, then-Tottenham manager], can I come in’” because I needed it for me, in a way.

    ‘There’s a little bit of an escape from a whole day in the hospital ward looking for the worst signs or sometimes looking for good signs or whatever it was.’

    George is now healthy and has just turned 30, with the pair regularly pictured together on social media.

    Listen and subscribe to The Athletic’s The Moment podcast, including the first episode with Gary Lineker, here

  • 2 месяца назад 26.04.2022Sport
    NRL streaker crash-tackled during Gold Coast Titans game learns fate

    The female footy fan who became an internet sensation for invading the field during an NRL match has been bombarded with cruel online trolling since the outrageous stunt, a court has heard.

    That barrage of public shaming and humiliation on Tuesday helped Javon Johanson, 28, escape punishment in court over her pitch invasion on the Gold Coast that made headlines around the world.

    Ms Johanson was labelled by her then-boyfriend as a ‘disgrace’ and ’embarrassment’ after she ran onto the field and disrupted play during the Titans’ loss to the Parramatta Eels on April 9.

    Match footage shows the Titans fan dodging one security guard before she was chased down by tackled by another while players watched on.

    Johanson was later charged over the stunt and pleaded guilty to entering a major sports facility without permission when she appeared in Southport Magistrates Court today.

    Her lawyer, Campbell MacCallum, told the court his client was subject to extensive shame and ridicule after footage of the incident ‘went global’, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.

    ‘She has been the subject of some fairly distasteful trolling,’ he said.

    He added his client injured her right shoulder and one of her fingers from the guard’s tackle.

    Magistrate Janice Crawford took Johanson’s early guilty plea and remorse into account as she issued a three month good behaviour bond with no conviction recorded.

    Johanson avoided a hefty fine of up $10,000, partly due to ‘extra punishment’ she’s already copped.

    A relieved Johanson refused to comment to the waiting media outside court.

    She has turned her social media settings to private in the wake of recent online backlash.

    She has also penned formal apologies to the organisations involved, including both clubs, the NRL, stadium management and the security company.

    Johanson originally was inundated with support from new fans who praised her as a legend after she shared text messages from her boyfriend. He dumped her over the incident

    The boyfriend – who was not at the game – texted her next morning showing the Daily Mail Australia’s coverage of the incident, plus a note reading: ‘You’re an idiot and disgrace. Thank you for an absolute embarrassment. Don’t try to contact me.’

    Despite attracting sympathy from some who said the hit was brutal, Ms Johanson said she found it ‘soft’.

    ‘I used to play AFL and rugby and I have three brothers, so getting tackled was not a problem,’ she said.

    ‘It’s been a bucket list thing and when your friends say, ”I dare you to do it”, you don’t actually think you’re going to do it. It was such a surreal, out-of-body experience.

    ‘It’s the adrenaline of the crowd. You just hear this big roar and I was like, ”I need to take off my top now”. I was so close to doing my bra but I was like, ”No … that’s a bit far”,’ she told Triple M’s Tammy Barker and Bodge.

    The 28-year-old filmed herself at the game with a friend explaining she was planning on taking the field.

    ‘I’m doing this,’ she said in the clip. ‘You ready?’

    Footage of the incident went viral within minutes and Ms Johanson later shared another video of all the news coverage her stunt received.

    Parramatta halfback Mitchell Moses was shown on Fox Sports’ coverage looking shocked and raising his hands to his head as he witnessed the tackle, which took place just metres from him.

    Officials confirmed after the game they would be investigating the actions of the security guard involved in the tackle.

    But Ms Johanson said it was ‘fair play’ and hoped he wouldn’t face any punishment for taking her down.

    ‘It’s fair play. I definitely took what I deserved. He should keep his job,’ she said.

    Titans chairman Dennis Watt said a review into the incident would be launched.

    ‘From where I was sitting it did seem heavy-handed. It could have been handled better,’ he said.

    ‘You heard this collective intake of breath around the ground. It did seem over the top and put the intruder at real physical risk.’

    Watt added that while guards usually do a great job, ‘on this occasion the fan could have been contained more easily than that without the risk of injury’.

  • 2 месяца назад 26.04.2022Sport
    Hilarious moment a Knights fan tears down rival NRL flags at his pub after Newcastle got flogged

    The Newcastle Knights might not be travelling so well in the 2022 NRL competition, but you can’t fault the passion of their fans.

    After watching the Knights get pumped 39-2 by Parramatta on Saturday, one Novacastrian decided to take matters into his own hands.

    Interrupting his shot at the pool table, the man used the bridge to reach up and tear down the Melbourne Storm, Canterbury Bulldogs and Manly Sea Eagles flags that were hanging above the bar.

    He gathered them all up and plonked them in front a very confused-looking bartender before returning to his game of pool.

    The video was posted on video sharing platform TikTok by a profile known only as trex032, with the words ‘our town, our team’ splashed across it and Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back In Town playing in the background.

    Of course, the man opened himself up for shots at the Knights who now sit third last on the NRL ladder after their hammering from the Eels.

    ‘Should have taken down the Knights one for how they played today and last week,’ Stuart Muns commented.

    ‘You clearly care more about the club more then the players even do hahaha,’ added an anonymous pundit.

    While the focus of the video was the man ripping down other team’s flags to show his support, the luckless Bulldogs wore the brunt of it in the comments.

    Despite going on a spending spree and signing a host of new players for 2022, the Dogs sit stone motherless last on the NRL ladder with just a single win over the Cowboys so far.

    The man had a bit of trouble getting the Bulldogs flag down, which sparked a flurry of clever comments.

    ‘Bulldogs flag had more defence then our actual team does,’ Chris posted.

    ‘Bulldogs flag put up a better fight than what the team has all year,’ added Steven.

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