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Lord Karan Bilimoria joins Ricketts family’s bid to buy Chelsea

CBI annual conference
(Image credit: Stefan Rousseau)

Cobra Beer founder Lord Karan Bilimoria has joined the Ricketts family’s bid to buy Chelsea.

The Chelsea fan and founding chairman of the UK India Business Council adds political clout to the Chicago Cubs-owning Ricketts’ attempt to buy the Blues.

US multi-billionaires Ken Griffin and Dan Gilbert have teamed up with Tom and Laura Ricketts to put together a hefty offer for Chelsea, with the sale expected to reach a sports-franchise record £3billion.

And now Bilimoria has joined the consortium with plans to act as a club ambassador should the Ricketts bid prove successful.

CBI annual conference

Lord Karan Bilimoria, left, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, centre, (Jacob King/PA)

“I founded Cobra Beer just down the road from Stamford Bridge and have been a season ticket holder for many years,” said Bilimoria.

“So when Tom Ricketts approached me to discuss a leading role in his bid group, there was no way I could refuse.

“Tom and the wider group have a proven track record of running successful sports teams and a strong vision for both the club and the local community.”

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

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The 55-year-old was then sanctioned by the UK Government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his links to Vladimir Putin.

Chelsea have been granted a special Government licence to continue operating, though under strict terms.

Abramovich cannot profit from Chelsea’s sale, but had already vowed to write off the club’s £1.5bn debt.

The Ricketts family, LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly and British business titan Jonathan Goldstein, Sir Martin Broughton and Lord Sebastian Coe, and Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca are the final four contenders to buy the Blues.

Bilimoria founded Cobra Beer in a flat in Fulham in 1989, and now chairs the Change the Race Ratio, a body set up to champion ethnic minority diversity in UK business.

He was appointed Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea in 2006, becoming the first Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords, as an independent crossbench peer.

Bilimoria also become the first Indian-born chancellor of a Russell Group university in Great Britain when taking up that post at Birmingham University in 2014.

“We have always been clear that having local expertise and perspectives on our bid is vital,” said Tom Ricketts.

“Given Lord Bilimoria’s unparalleled credentials and his love for Chelsea, he is the perfect addition to our team.”

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