Chelsea takeover rivals fought a separate bidding war to take over the NFL’s Denver Broncos

Todd Boehly and Josh Harris, who are behind two of the three remaining bids to buy Roman Abramovich’s Premier League club, are shortlisted to buy the NFL franchise

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Leading figures in two of the three groups still in the running for purchase Chelsea out of Roman Abramovich have become bidding rivals to take over the NFL’s Denver Broncos.

Todd Boehly, who owns a significant stake in the LA Dodgers, and Josh Harris, Crystal Palace’s minority owner with interests in a number of American teams, belong to five groups to have moved on to the next phase of the conversation. They are expected to meet with the team’s management in early May, it said athletic.

A resolution to Chelsea property is expected by then.

The deadline for final bids passed last Thursday when three of four shortlisted consortia submitted improved bids to Raine Group, the US merchant bank overseeing the auction on behalf of Abramovich. Raine is currently evaluating the offers and once a preferred buyer has been agreed he will apply to the government to change the terms of the club’s operating license and allow for a sale.

The government’s priority remains to ensure that Abramovich, who has been sanctioned for his alleged relationship with Russia president Wladimir Putin, is not receiving money from a deal that could be worth more than £3billion. The money is expected to be donated to charity or placed in an escrow account.

The Ricketts family, who have faced criticism First League Club supporters retracted their interest in patriarch Joe’s historical comments, citing “certain issues” and “unusual dynamics” surrounding the sale.

The government’s priority remains to ensure Abramovich does not receive any money from the sale


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“The group has decided, after careful consideration, not to make a definitive bid for Chelsea,” Ricketts said in a statement on Friday. “As the bid was finalized, it became increasingly clear that certain issues could not be addressed given the unusual dynamics in the sales process. We have great admiration for Chelsea and its fans and wish the new owners all the best.”

Boehly heads a group composed of Swiss philanthropist Hansjorg Wyss, California investment firm Clearlake Capital and London real estate developer Jonathan Goldstein. They have added Tory peer Daniel Finkelstein and former Chancellor George Osborne to advisory roles.

Harris and his business partner David Blitzer are part of a group led by Sir Martin Broughton, a former chairman of Liverpool and British Airways and supported by Lord Seb Coe, Head of World Athletics. But Harris and Blitzer must divest their stakes, which are expected to be between 20% and 25% crystal palace so that a deal can be made.

The third group is led by Stephen Pagliuca, Serie A club Atalanta’s largest shareholder. The 67-year-old would have to reduce his 47 per cent stake in the Italy squad should he take over at Stamford Bridge.

Pagliuca, who also owns a stake in the Boston Celtics, has been less visible than groups Boehly and Broughton but released a statement last week naming eight other supporters, including former Disney boss Bob Iger. His bid has the backing of the True Blues Consortium, a group co-founded by former Chelsea captain John Terry who want to buy a 10 per cent stake in the club.

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