Tennis legend Serena Williams has become the latest to place a bid to purchase English Premier League soccer club Chelsea FC, which is being sold by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who was sanctioned by Western powers amid his country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, along with British auto racing star Lewis Hamilton has joined forces with former British Airways chairman Martin Broughton’s bid to purchase the club.
Reuters reported that Josh Harris, owner of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, and David Blitzer, owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, have also placed financial backing into Broughton’s bid on the club.
Hamilton’s spokesperson confirmed to The Guardian that he has placed a $13 million bid for club ownership, adding even though he’s an Arsenal fan, Chelsea’s London-based rival, he hopes to have a positive effect within the Chelsea community.
“We can confirm Lewis has joined Sir Martin Broughton’s bid,” Hamilton’s spokesperson said. “It is understood the Mercedes driver, who is an Arsenal fan, hopes that, among other things, he could have a positive effect on diversity and inclusion at Chelsea and in the club’s local community.”
Williams also has an ownership stake in Angel City FC, a newly created women’s soccer club that is set to make its debut in the National Women’s Soccer League later this month, according to The Washington Post.
This comes after Abramovich announced earlier this year that he intends to sell ownership of the Premier League club, and days after saying he will hand over “stewardship” of his soccer club to the trustees of its charitable foundation.
Abramovich, who purchased Chelsea in 2003, was one of few Russian oligarchs to be handed down sanctions in response to his country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Williams’ group joins two other bidding groups led by Los Angeles Dodger part-owner Todd Boehly and the Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca in the running to purchase the club, The Guardian noted.