Hamilton explains Chelsea FC ownership bid
By Mat Coch
Saturday 23rd April, 2022 - 10:06am
Lewis Hamilton has explained his interested in becoming part of a group angling to buy the Chelsea Football Club.
Hamilton is part of a group which includes tennis star Serena Williams who are looking to acquire ownership of the London club from Roman Abramovich.
The Russian is being forced to sell the club which he acquired in 2010 after his assets in the United Kingdom were frozen on the back of his home country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Chelsea plays in the English Premier League, sitting third with seven games left in the 2021-22 season, a competition it last won in 2016-17.
It has been a force in English football since the mid-2000s, having won five of its six league titles since the 2004-05 campaign.
In addition to its domestic prowess, it has won the European Champions League twice, most recently last season when it defeated Manchester City 1-0.
“We’re trying to acquire a team and move it forwards,” Hamilton said of his interest in the ownership bid.
“This is a team, this is all about the community. That’s what really makes a football team – it’s the people around it.”
Hamilton would form part of a consortium headed by former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton, though reports the Mercedes driver was set to chip in just over $17.5 million are said to be wide of the mark.
However, they are not the only group looking to acquire the club, with others including LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly, and Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca both understood to be in contention.
Reports from the UK suggest all offers must be tabled by late next week with a final decision not expected for some weeks after that point.
Chelsea has been in limbo since Abramovich’s UK-based assets were frozen, though a special licence was issued which has allowed the club to continue to operate, pay staff, and have existing ticket holders attend matches.
Bids to acquire the club are understood to have topped north of $4 billion, with Abramovich claiming any profits from the sale would be donated to a “charitable foundation” that would “be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine.”
“I heard about it in the news, everyone’s obviously aware of it,” Hamilton said of the club’s sale.
“We were contacted, and so Martin [Broughton] took time to speak to me on the phone and explain his and his team’s goals for if they were to win the bid, which was incredibly exciting.
“It was very much aligned with my values.
“When I was younger, I was trying to be the best player I could be and actually play for a team,” he added.
“I was trying to try out for Stevenage Borough when I was younger, but then I ended up following the racing space, but I could have only ever dream of being part of a team, and an actual integral part of a team.
“So for me, that’s the most exciting thing.”
An Arsenal fan, the investment would not only be a personal move but a business decision for the 37-year-old as he begins to look at life beyond F1. Chelsea last year posted a loss of almost $260 million after tax.
“That’s never the idea of an investment,” Hamilton conceded.
“But firstly, the investment, to be a part of something as big as this is the excitement, that’s first and foremost [what] comes to mind.
“Then yes, of course it’s a business venture.
“Through the discussions that we’ve had, how the team plan to manage this team moving forwards and improve that and make sure that [it does] slowly decrease those losses and turn it into a profit-making organisation, that’s going to take a lot of work, there’s so many moving parts.
“I don’t have the strategy to do all that, we haven’t yet won the bid.
“So I’m sure that will all come afterwards. But the consortium is a consortium of lifetime Chelsea fans and others that have come to it later, like myself.
“There’s not anyone that’s a part of it, that is part of that consortium, that’s with the mindset of losing.
“I really think Chelsea already has a winning mindset but I think we can do better with how we move it forward.”