Joe Ricketts, whose family run Major League Baseball team the Chicago Cubs and are attempting to buy Chelsea, called Muslims ‘our enemy’ in an email in 2019
Tom Ricketts is part of a group hoping to buy Chelsea and has insisted his family is not racist or Islamophobic © Mike Pont / WireImage
The Ricketts family who are part of a bid to buy Premier League heavyweights Chelsea following the sanctioning of Roman Abramovich have denied accusations of racism and Islamophobia.
The owners of Major League Baseball team the Chicago Cubs flew to London for talks with influential Chelsea fan groups on Tuesday.
They have now been forced to distance themselves from comments which first emerged in 2019 and were written by Joe Ricketts, the family patriach.
“Muslims are naturally my (our) enemy due to their deep antagonism and bias against non-Muslims,” Ricketts wrote in a widely-reported email. The remarks have caused alarm among some supporters of the Champions League holders, whose squad includes Muslim players Hakim Ziyech, Antonio Rudiger, N’Golo Kante and Malang Sarr.
🚨 One serious stumbling block for the Ricketts – Griffin bid could be a controversy that Joe Rickets was involved in in 2019. The 80 year old was forced to apologise to emails he sent in which he said “ Muslims are naturally my ( our enemy ) @Matt_Law_DT@TeleFootball
— Pys (@CFCPys) March 16, 2022
Chelsea’s new owners?Here is an email sent by right-wing Billionaire Joe Ricketts (The family patriarch) obtained by Splinter.How they’d deal with it?(a) claim Joe is no longer part of the day-to-day operations and (b) sign a useless document emphasizing their love for all. pic.twitter.com/cmgJ7xz7Od
— Parted Beard (@PartedBeard) March 16, 2022
Joe Ricketts apologized for his views at the time and has insisted he is not bigoted.
Tom Ricketts, the figurehead of the bid for Chelsea, said his father was not involved with the Cubs.
The family has sought to make amends with Chicago’s Muslim community, and the group reiterated its stance in a statement.
So I’ve seen and heard enough. I’m backing @ChelseaSTrust and saying a big fat anti racism NO to the Ricketts bid!! Please can you stop even mentioning it @SkySportsNews@GregHands#NoToRicketts
— Paul Canoville (@Kingcanners) March 22, 2022
Statement from Chelsea bidders, the Ricketts family, against racism after leaked emails in 2019 from Joe Ricketts called Muslims “the enemy” – leading to criticism of any role at the club. His son, Tom, is said to be leading the Chelsea bid. pic.twitter.com/IStlGvEwkl
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) March 23, 2022
“Our family rejects any form of hate in the strongest possible terms,” it said. “Racism and Islamophobia have no place whatsoever in our society.
“We have developed deep and abiding partnerships with the Muslim community in Chicago, as well as with all communities of colour.
“Respect for diversity and inclusion are central to our family’s values. If we prevail in our bid for Chelsea, we commit to the club and to the fans that we will actively promote these values.”
Government should discount any bid that does not protect the club’s heritage by issuing a golden share for supporters. Full statement ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/uUcqdAzBXf
— Chelsea Supporters’ Trust⭐️⭐️ (@ChelseaSTrust) March 21, 2022
The family believe they are in a strong position to be named as the prefered buyers in a tussle for control thought to involve around 20 bidders.
Their cause will not be helped by a #notoRicketts hashtag circulating on social media following the fresh scrutiny afforded to the offensive emails.
Paul Canoville, who became the first black player to represent Chelsea when he made his debut in 1981, expressed his fervent opposition to the bid.